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My wife is always accusing me of casting aspersions and I'd like to do something else with them. Please advise.

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You can also sprinkle them. [aspersion: (n) An attack on somebody's reputation or good name, often in the phrase to cast aspersions upon (Dict.com)] (label) ...a sprinkling of [aspersions]

Merriam-Webster: "sprinkle" def: scatter or pour small drops or particles of a substance over (an object or surface).

Maybe a sprinkling of aspersions will make them appear more tiny vs. this casting aspersions upon her.

Perhaps a sprinkling of aspersions sounds less inoffensive; somewhat harmless, or innocuous--somehow. Seem like a piddling of aspersions. Maybe because there's less of them. I don't know. Sometimes, if I apply a sprinkling of aspersions on my wife instead of casting, she thinks them funny. Try a sprinkling of aspersions instead. If that doesn't work, you can always go back to casting aspersions upon her, or even try dusting or powdering her with aspersions. See if that works.

Good luck!

  • 2
    Thank you. I plan to moisten the air with my next set of aspersions and see if that helps. – ᴇʟᴇvᴀтᴇ Feb 21 at 19:33
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    Point in fact @ᴇʟᴇvᴀтᴇ, a "sprinkling" of aspersions is actually a blessing... – Cascabel Feb 21 at 19:53
  • Perfect. That's my get-out-of-jail-free card. – ᴇʟᴇvᴀтᴇ Feb 21 at 19:55
  • @ᴇʟᴇvᴀтᴇ ...and might I sprinkle aspersions on you, for brightening up my day with this question. – Cascabel Feb 21 at 20:48
14

You can heap aspersions on someone. Of course you can also throw them.

You can lay aspersions upon someone too.

I suppose it would also be possible to say, with some license, that someone went about pissing aspersions— on the free press perhaps. With similar latitude you could say that someone went about spluttering aspersions or training a steady stream of aspersions, as the case may be.

13

The manner in which you are using aspersion(s) here is only in the metaphorical sense of the word. An "aspersion" is either the act of sprinkling, or that which is sprinkled. E.g 1846 W. Maskell Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiae Anglicanae I. 209 St. Peter..baptized five thousand on one day; but this must have been by aspersion. (OED).

It is only when you get to OED senses 5 and 6 that you see reference to the innuendo sense. And in only a few of the examples given, as you will see, are they "cast".

  1. The action of casting damaging imputations, false and injurious charges, or unjust insinuations; calumniation, defamation.

1633 G. Herbert Temple: Sacred Poems 89 Who by aspersions throw a stone At th' head of others, hit their own.

1781 W. Cowper Friendship xvii Aspersion is the babbler's trade, To listen is to lend him aid.

1873 E. M. Goulburn Thoughts Pers. Relig. iv. xi. 347 Imperious aspersion of God.

  1. A damaging report; a charge that tarnishes the reputation; a calumny, slander, false insinuation. Esp. in the phr. to cast aspersions upon.

1596 Spenser View State Ireland Pref. 2 Which may seeme to lay..any particular aspersion upon some families.

a1661 T. Fuller Worthies (1662) Bristol 37 As false is the Aspersion of his being a great Usurer.

1692 King James II Let. 2 Apr. (BL Stowe 158 f. 61) Even that precatuion [having witnesses at the prince's birth] was not enough to hinder Us from the malicious Aspersions of such as were resolved to deprive Us of Our Royal Right.

1749 H. Fielding Tom Jones IV. xi. vii. 155 I defy all the World to cast a just Aspersion on my Character.

1859 ‘G. Eliot’ Adam Bede I. i. v. 113 Vindicating myself from the aspersions.

  • Is that like aspiration? – David R Tribble Feb 21 at 23:00
  • @DavidRTribble No. An "aspiration" is something to which you aspire. – WS2 Feb 22 at 0:21
  • This should be the accepted answer. – LarsH Feb 22 at 11:19
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    @WS2 But normally-aspirated engines don't aspire to anything. – Ed Daniel Feb 25 at 8:53
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    @EdDaniel Those are related to the sense of the verb "aspire" meaning, simply to breathe, from the Latin aspirare. It is a different sense which incorporates the idea of "breathing desire toward" - meaning: To have a fixed desire, longing, or ambition for something at present above one; to seek to attain, to pant, long. (OED) – WS2 Feb 25 at 19:14
5

The answers already given are good, but I wanted to add a method for finding answers. Try Google N-grams using the part-of-speech marker like so:

In the search bar: *_VERB aspersions

or use this link:

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=*_VERB+aspersions

That will give you the top-10 most common choices of verb to precede "aspersions" in the indexed books. Most of them are conjugations of "cast" but there are also: "lay", "throw", "make" and "contain".

You could also find out what kind of aspersions people were casting using: cast *_ADJ aspersions

Apparently, they were serious, moral, defamatory, unjust, foul and grave.

4

You could probably book them for a gig. Your wife might refute them. Someone else might vindicate her against your aspersions.

  • I like the lateral thinking involved in this answer :) – NH. Feb 26 at 18:24
1

I think what's posted pretty much covers YOUR aspersions. If the aspersions come from someone else, you can resent them.

-2

I'm NOT siding with your wife. You can retain them (keep them to yourself), and you can also verify them (check them). After those two, you might be able to reword them into a persuasive format.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/aspersion

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    Your reference doesn't support any usage of "retain", "verify" or "reword" in collocation with "aspersions". – Mark Beadles Feb 21 at 16:54
  • Well, for mercy's sake. I'll have to retain my aspersions for the moment. I need to check them all for veracity there are so many of them. In lieu of them, though, I didn't think collocation was required because it wasn't stated. My bad. – user22542 Feb 21 at 17:38

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