Animadversion is a harsh, critical comment — or even a public censure. You don't hear it very often, but in Puritan times, dressing in bright colors and swearing would bring many animadversions down upon you.

Animadversion comes from the verb animadvert. In Middle English, animadvert meant simply to pay attention — to "turn your mind to" something, from the Latin animus ("mind") + ad- ("to") + vertere ("turn"). Anyone with parents can understand how a word that means "pay attention" can turn into a word that means "criticize."

Definitions of animadversion
  1. noun
    harsh criticism or disapproval
    synonyms: censure
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    an ecclesiastical censure by the Roman Catholic Church withdrawing certain sacraments and Christian burial from a person or all persons in a particular district
    type of:
    condemnation, disapprobation
    an expression of strong disapproval; pronouncing as wrong or morally culpable
Word Family

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