The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Asperse \As*perse"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Aspersed; p. pr. &
vb. n. Aspersing.] [L. aspersus, p. p. of aspergere to
scatter, sprinkle; ad + spargere to strew. See Sparse.]
1. To sprinkle, as water or dust, upon anybody or anything,
or to besprinkle any one with a liquid or with dust.
2. To bespatter with foul reports or false and injurious
charges; to tarnish in point of reputation or good name;
to slander or calumniate; as, to asperse a poet or his
writings; to asperse a man's character.
With blackest crimes aspersed. --Cowper.
Syn: To slander; defame; detract from; calumniate; vilify.
Usage: To Asperse, Defame, Slander, Calumniate. These
words have in common the idea of falsely assailing the
character of another. To asperse is figuratively to
cast upon a character hitherto unsullied the
imputation of blemishes or faults which render it
offensive or loathsome. To defame is to detract from a
man's honor and reputation by charges calculated to
load him with infamy. Slander (etymologically the same
as scandal) and calumniate, from the Latin, have in
common the sense of circulating reports to a man's
injury from unworthy or malicious motives. Men asperse
their neighbors by malignant insinuations; they defame
by advancing charges to blacken or sully their fair
fame; they slander or calumniate by spreading
injurious reports which are false, or by magnifying
slight faults into serious errors or crimes.