What Does Cast Aspersions Mean?

Cast Aspersions on Someone Meaning

Definition: To doubt or disparage someone.

Origin of Cast Aspersions

This expression originated in the 1700s.

Cast comes from the Old Norse word kasta. It can mean to throw or to spread over an area.

Aspersions comes from the Latin word aspergere, which means to sprinkle. Originally, it meant to sprinkle holy water, like in a baptism. Over time, however, the meaning of aspersion changed to mean sprinkling lies or accusations around a locale.

Examples of Cast Aspersions

casting aspersions meaningIn this example, two sisters talk about gossip in the office.

Amy: Hey, did you hear anyone saying something negative about me?

Kimberly: No? Why?

Amy: Because I just walked into the break room, and all the people in there immediately stopped talking and looked really guilty. I think they were talking about me.

Kimberly: You’re probably just imagining it.

Amy: I don’t think I am. That one coworker of ours is always casting aspersions. I think she is impugning my character.

Kimberly: Well, I’ll listen and tell you if I find anything out.

define cast aspersions onIn the second example, two friends are discussing a third friend.

Keira: Hey! Are you ready to go see the movie?

Rory: Yeah, I’m ready, but I’m not sure where Richard is.

Keira: Oh no. I bet he decided not to come and didn’t even tell us. That would be so like him.

Rory: I guess that’s a possibility.

Keira: More like a probability. I hate to cast aspersions on him, but he does this all the time. You can never trust him to do what he says he will.

Rory: I know. He’s unreliable.

More Examples

Here is an example about an electric company. A city manager wants to be clear that he doesn’t want to criticize that company.

  • Alexander stressed the consultant’s review is not intended to cast aspersions on Edison’s performance, especially given that, in the wake of severe rainstorms that hit the area in January, no significant unplanned outages were reported. –LA Times

This excerpt is about how a president said negative things about a company.

  • In the last 10 days — half the length of his presidency — Trump has taken on judges and the media, demeaned his political opponents as paid provocateurs, threatened to strip federal funds from California, insulted Australia, a U.S. ally, and cast aspersions on an American company, Nordstrom, for its decision to stop selling a fashion line by his daughter Ivanka. –LA Times


To cast aspersions on someone means to question his ability or to speak negatively about them.