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PIE word

Learned borrowing from Latin opprobrium, obprobrium (a reproach, a taunt; disgrace, shame; dishonour; scandal, noun), from opprobrō, obprobrō (to reproach, upbraid; to taunt) + -ium (suffix forming abstract nouns).[1] Opprobrō, obprobrō are derived from ob- (prefix meaning ‘against’) + probrum (disgrace, shame; abuse, insult, noun) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *pro- (forward; toward) + *bʰer- (to bear, carry), in the sense of something brought up to reproach a person).

The plural form opprobria is borrowed from Latin opprobria.



opprobrium (countable and uncountable, plural opprobriums or opprobria)

  1. (countable, archaic) A cause, object, or situation of disgrace or shame. [from mid 17th c.]
    Synonym: (obsolete) opprobry
    • 1828 May, “Poor Laws—Emigration”, in The London Magazine (Third Series), number II, London: [] [William Clowes] for the proprietors, and published by their agent, Henry Hooper, [], →OCLC, page 227:
      As there are certain malignant diseases which have been denominated the opprobria of medicine, so there are particular maladies of our social condition, which may be considered the opprobria of legislation. Amongst the most inveterate of these are the poor laws.
    • 1871–1872, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], chapter LXI, in Middlemarch [], volume III, Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, →OCLC, book VI, page 313:
      It was not that he was in danger of legal punishment or of beggary: he was in danger only of seeing disclosed to the judgment of his neighbours and the mournful perception of his wife certain facts of his past life which would render him an object of scorn and an opprobrium of the religion with which he had diligently associated himself.
    • 1914 September – 1915 May, Arthur Conan Doyle, “Lodge 341, Vermissa”, in The Valley of Fear: A Sherlock Holmes Novel, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 27 February 1915, →OCLC, part II (The Scowrers), page 230:
      Twelve years have now elapsed since the first assassinations which proved the existence of a criminal organization in our midst. From that day these outrages have never ceased, until now they have reached a pitch which makes us the opprobrium of the civilized world.
  2. (uncountable)
    1. Disgrace or bad reputation arising from exceedingly shameful behaviour; ignominy. [from late 17th c.]
      Synonyms: obloquy, (obsolete) opprobry
      • 1788, Publius [pseudonym; James Madison], “Number X. The Same Subject Continued [The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard against Domestic Faction and Insurrection].”, in The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, [] , volume I, New York, N.Y.: [] J. and A. M‘Lean, [], →OCLC, page 57:
        Let me add that it is the great deſideratum, by which alone this form of government can be reſcued from the opprobrium under which it has ſo long labored, and be recommended to the eſteem and adoption of mankind.
      • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VII, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. [], volume III, London: [] [Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, →OCLC, page 186:
        I am content to suffer alone, while my sufferings shall endure: when I die, I am well satisfied that abhorrence and opprobrium should load my memory.
      • 2007 August 1, Robert Peston, quotee, “BA’s Price-fix Fine Reaches £270m”, in BBC News[1], archived from the original on 16 April 2021:
        Virgin [Atlantic] won't pay a penny in fines and actually emerges as a winner, since all the opprobrium of the rule-breach has been heaped on BA [British Airways].
    2. Scornful contempt or reproach; (countable) an instance of this.
      Synonyms: blame, castigation, censure, derision, invective, (obsolete) opprobry; see also Thesaurus:contempt
      • 1838, [Letitia Elizabeth] Landon (indicated as editor), chapter III, in Duty and Inclination: [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 33:
        [] from that strict rectitude in which I have been accustomed to walk and to view my actions, and which, notwithstanding the unjust opprobrium cast upon me, I find to be an invincible support and shield.
      • 1908 August, George A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter VII, in Spanish Gold, 2nd edition, London: Methuen & Co. [], published September 1908, →OCLC, page 76:
        Some Johnny with brains produces a hypothesis. Everybody calls him a rotter at first. But he remains calm in the face of opprobrium.
    3. (archaic) Behaviour which is disgraceful or shameful.

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ opprobrium, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “opprobrium, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]


Alternative forms[edit]


From opprobrō +‎ -ium.



opprobrium n (genitive opprobriī or opprobrī); second declension

  1. reproach, taunt
  2. scandal, disgrace, dishonour, shame


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative opprobrium opprobria
Genitive opprobriī
Dative opprobriō opprobriīs
Accusative opprobrium opprobria
Ablative opprobriō opprobriīs
Vocative opprobrium opprobria

1Found in older Latin (until the Augustan Age).

Derived terms[edit]



  • opprobrium”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • opprobrium”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • opprobrium in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette