noun de·ri·sion \ di-ˈri-zhən \
|Updated on: 13 Jul 2018

Definition of derision

1 a : the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt
b : a state of being laughed at or ridiculed : a state of being derided
2 : an object of ridicule or scorn

Examples of derision in a Sentence

  1. My remarks were anodyne, but some other snippets of marginalia were shrieks of derision —Paul TherouxGranta 44Summer 1993
  2. Britain had its boffins, working researchers subject to the derision of intellectual gentlemen. —James GleickGenius: The Life & Science of Richard Feynman1992
  3. … discussion, laughter, lecturing, but no shouts or threats, no yardsticks banging for silence, no words of shame or derision. —Lorene CaryBlack Ice1991
  4. The whole idea of Camelot excites derision. In fact, I am sure Kennedy would have derided it himself. No one at the time ever thought of his Washington as Camelot. —Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.The Cycles of American History1986
  5. One of the students laughed in derision at my error.

  6. The team's awful record has made it an object of derision in the league.

  7. “Nerd” is a term of derision.

Recent Examples of derision from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'derision.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Where does derision come from?

Derision shares part of its origin with the words ridiculous and risible; all may be traced to the Latin verb ridēre (“to laugh”). From the time derision entered the English language in the 14th century, it has suggested laughter, albeit of a mocking or scornful variety. It may also be used to indicate an object of scornful laughter – that is, a laughingstock -- as in the line from Lamentations 3:14 of the King James Version of the bible: “I was a derision to all my people.”

Origin and Etymology of derision

Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin derision-, derisio, from Latin deridēre — see deride

derision Synonyms

Near Antonyms

darling, favorite, pet;

Related Words

chump, dupe, fall guy, fool, gull, monkey, pigeon, sap, sucker, victim;

DERISION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of derision for English Language Learners

  • : the feeling that people express when they criticize and laugh at someone or something in an insulting way

DERISION Defined for Kids


noun de·ri·sion \ di-ˈri-zhən \

Definition of derision for Students

: a feeling of dislike or disrespect often shown by the use of insults
  • … The villagers spoke of Min—usually in jest, but sometimes with derision
  • —Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard

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to beat or defeat soundly

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