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noun dis·dain \dis-ˈdān\

Simple Definition of disdain

  • : a feeling of strong dislike or disapproval of someone or something you think does not deserve respect

Full Definition of disdain

  1. :  a feeling of contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior :  scorn

Examples of disdain

  1. McCarthy's indifference to accolades and his disdain for grandstanding … turned into a disdain even for being understood. —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 5 Apr. 2004

  2. There is fierce disdain within the Pentagon for the passive U.N. peacekeepers who stood by while thousands were murdered in Bosnia's ethnic cleansing. —Joe Klein, Time, 24 Nov. 2003

  3. But for all its playful love of puns and cool disdain for “suits,” the high-tech world is, at heart, a cruel, unforgiving place ruled by the merciless dynamics of the marketplace. —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 27 June 2002

  4. He regarded their proposal with disdain.

  5. I have a healthy disdain for companies that mistreat their workers.

Origin of disdain

Middle English desdeyne, from Anglo-French desdaign, from desdeigner (see 2disdain)

First Known Use: 14th century



verb dis·dain \dis-ˈdān\

Simple Definition of disdain

  • : to strongly dislike or disapprove of (someone or something)

  • : to refuse to do (something) because of feelings of dislike or disapproval

Full Definition of disdain

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to look on with scorn <disdained him as a coward>

  3. 2 :  to refuse or abstain from because of a feeling of contempt or scorn <disdained to answer their questions>

  4. 3 :  to treat as beneath one's notice or dignity

Examples of disdain

  1. The right eyes him [Thomas Jefferson] suspiciously as a limousine Jacobin so enamored of revolution that he once suggested we should have one every 20 years. The left disdains him as your basic race hypocrite. —Charles Krauthammer, Time, 22 May 2000

  2. Only in our last days on the peninsula (the arm of Antarctica that polar scientists disdain as the “Banana Belt”) did we see our first frozen sea … —Kate Ford, Wall Street Journal, 12 June 1998

  3. His vehicle would be a form he both enjoyed and disdained—pulp fiction. His audience would be one he often condescended to—the black masses. —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., NNew York Times Book Review, 20 Sept. 1992

  4. There is also evidence of epic womanizing that Mr. Schickel mentions but loftily announces that he disdains to tell us about. —Camille Paglia, New York Times Book Review, 21 July 1991

  5. They disdained him for being weak.

  6. She disdained to answer their questions.

Origin of disdain

Middle English desdeynen, from Anglo-French desdeigner, dedeigner, from Vulgar Latin *disdignare, from Latin dis- + dignare to deign — more at deign

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of disdain

despise, contemn, scorn, disdain mean to regard as unworthy of one's notice or consideration. despise may suggest an emotional response ranging from strong dislike to loathing <despises cowards>. contemn implies a vehement condemnation of a person or thing as low, vile, feeble, or ignominious <contemns the image of women promoted by advertisers>. scorn implies a ready or indignant contempt <scorns the very thought of retirement>. disdain implies an arrogant or supercilious aversion to what is regarded as unworthy <disdained popular music>.

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February 9, 2016

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