derision

noun
de·​ri·​sion | \ di-ˈri-zhən How to pronounce derision (audio) \

Definition of derision

1a : 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

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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.”

Examples of derision in a Sentence

My remarks were anodyne, but some other snippets of marginalia were shrieks of derision — Paul Theroux, Granta 44, Summer 1993 Britain had its boffins, working researchers subject to the derision of intellectual gentlemen. — James Gleick, Genius: The Life & Science of Richard Feynman, 1992 … discussion, laughter, lecturing, but no shouts or threats, no yardsticks banging for silence, no words of shame or derision. — Lorene Cary, Black Ice, 1991 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 History, 1986 One of the students laughed in derision at my error. The team's awful record has made it an object of derision in the league. “Nerd” is a term of derision.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Mr Trump has often singled out Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib—along with two other first-term non-white congresswomen, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—for unbecoming abuse and derision. The Economist, "Donald Trump presses Israel into barring entry to American congresswomen," 16 Aug. 2019 The Runaways, punky and rebellious, faced, at best, skepticism, objectification and derision. chicagotribune.com, "How rock veterans from Runaways, Fanny joined forces," 29 July 2019 The Runaways, punky and rebellious, faced, at best, skepticism, objectification and derision. Katherine Turman, Los Angeles Times, "How two fearless rock pioneers survived the ’70s and found each other four decades later," 25 July 2019 Even to ask the question a couple of years ago would have been to invite derision. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The Strangely Dovish Donald Trump," 5 July 2019 The long list of those apparently duped includes director Judd Apatow, actress Julia Roberts, actor Rob Lowe, singer Usher and, to some commenters’ particular derision, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, "This viral Instagram hoax duped A-listers — and the man overseeing our nuclear arsenal," 21 Aug. 2019 But there’s another roadblock, one that doesn’t seem to generate the same passionate derision on Facebook, Twitter and the rest. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland.com, "Down syndrome actor tells his own story with a Huck Finn twist in ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’," 19 Aug. 2019 His colleagues speak of him with a mix of admiration, fear and derision, impressed by his single-minded determination and loyalty to the president, despite an awkward and sometimes off-putting style. al, "How Stephen Miller controls Trump’s immigration policy," 18 Aug. 2019 His colleagues speak of him with a mix of admiration, fear and derision, impressed by his single-minded determination and loyalty to the president, despite an awkward and sometimes off-putting style. Author: Nick Miroff, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "Stephen Miller has singular control of Trump’s immigration policy," 17 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of derision

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for derision

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

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Learn More about derision

Dictionary Entries near derision

deringer

Deripia

derisible

derision

derisive

derisory

derivability

Statistics for derision

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for derision

The first known use of derision was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for derision

derision

noun

English Language Learners Definition of derision

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

derision

noun
de·​ri·​sion | \ di-ˈri-zhən How to pronounce derision (audio) \

Kids Definition of derision

: 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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More from Merriam-Webster on derision

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with derision

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for derision

Spanish Central: Translation of derision

Nglish: Translation of derision for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of derision for Arabic Speakers

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