properly means “sprinklings” or “scatterings.” Its present
meaning is base insinuations or slanders.
No sweet aspersion [rain ] shall the heavens let fall
To make this contract grow.
Shakespeare: The Tempest
, iv. 1.
Casting aspersions on one
sprinkling with calumnies, slandering or insinuating misconduct.
I defy all the world to cast a just aspersion on my character.
—Fielding: Tom Jones
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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