Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 22, 2020 is:

opprobrium • uh-PROH-bree-um  • noun

1 : something that brings disgrace

2 a : public disgrace or ill fame that follows from conduct considered grossly wrong or vicious

b : contempt, reproach


“Nonetheless, I remained a fellow traveler. In those days, the term was one of approval, not opprobrium.” — Ellen Feldman, Scottsboro, 2008

“After abruptly announcing lockdown plans for England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson now faces opprobrium from allies and adversaries alike who say he has either gone too far or acted too slowly.” — Natasha Frost, The New York Times, 2 Nov. 2020

Did you know?

Opprobrium was borrowed into English from Latin in the 17th century. It derives from the Latin verb opprobrare, which means “to reproach.” That verb, in turn, came from the noun probrum, meaning “disgraceful act” or “reproach.” The adjective form of opprobrium is opprobrious, which in English means “scurrilous” or “infamous.” One might commit an “opprobrious crime” or be berated with “opprobrious language,” for example. Probrum gave English another word too, but you might have a little trouble guessing it. It is exprobrate, an archaic synonym of censure and upbraid

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