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From Late Latin obloquium (contradiction), from Latin obloquor (speak against, contradict).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɒbləˌkwi/, /ˈɔːbləˌkwi/
    • (file)


obloquy (countable and uncountable, plural obloquies)

  1. Abusive language.
    • 1748, David Hume, Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 34.
      It is surprising, therefore, that this philosophy, which, in almost every instance, must be harmless and innocent, should be the subject of so much groundless reproach and obloquy.
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 21, in The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      “Can't you understand that love without confidence is a worthless thing—and that had you trusted me I would have borne any obloquy with you. []
  2. Disgrace.
    • 1771, Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling, London: Cassell, published 1886, page 108:
      Her death I could have born, but the death of her honour has added obloquy and shame to that sorrow which bends my grey hairs to the dust!
    • 1825, William Hazlitt, The Spirit of the Age, Mr. Malthus
      His name undoubtedly stands very high in the present age, and will in all probability go down to posterity with more or less of renown or obloquy.
    • 1886, Henry James, The Princess Casamassima.
      It was comparatively easy for him to accept himself as the son of a terribly light Frenchwoman; there seemed a deeper obloquy even than that in his having for his other parent a nobleman altogether wanting in nobleness.
  3. (archaic) A false accusation; malevolent rumors.
    • 1830, Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Interspersed with Anecdotes of Incidents that Occurred Within His Own Observation, Chapter IX. Campaign of 1783:
      It is as cruel as the grave to any man, when he knows his own rectitude of conduct, to have his hard services not only debased and underrated. But the Revolutionary soldiers are not the only people that endure obloquy.
    • 1831, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Romance and Reality, volume 3, page 172:
      "But, sir," said Mr. Brande—who, being a traveller himself, considered that their injuries were personal ones—"look at the long years of obloquy and wrong, of taunts and doubts, which embittered Bruce's return home."