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

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 Paul, when asked by The Enquirer about the clip, reacted with derision. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 14 Jan. 2022 Creasing up with derision, Mr. Sliwa berates Mr. Adams for taking a vacation in Monaco. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 22 Oct. 2021 While the exact timing and details of the private-sector mandates are still being hammered out, the specter of coercion outrages many Kentuckians, particularly in Appalachia, where government directives have been met with derision. Sarah Varney, The Courier-Journal, 22 Oct. 2021 While the exact timing and details of the private-sector mandates are still being hammered out, the specter of coercion outrages many Kentuckians, particularly in Appalachia, where government directives have been met with derision. Sarah Varney, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 21 Oct. 2021 Only weeks earlier, acknowledging the unrelenting derision in his mentions amid the 2020 playoffs, George spoke publicly about discussing his feelings of depression and anxiety with a team psychologist. Los Angeles Times, 19 Oct. 2021 Sexton further remarked that conservatives had latched onto the media's nonstop derision of DeSantis by satirically blaming him for coronavirus spikes in places like Hawaii and the Northeast. Fox News, 1 Oct. 2021 As such, the fate of the jobless — the attendant derision or pity is often used as a cautionary tale. Whizy Kim, refinery29.com, 28 Sep. 2021 The Randumb Show, from 2013 to 2014—a pattern of casual comments that revealed, in turn, a pattern of casual derision of other people. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 21 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for derision

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near derision

derisible

derision

derisive

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Statistics for derision

Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Derision.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/derision. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for derision

derision

noun

English Language Learners Definition of derision

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on derision

Nglish: Translation of derision for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of derision for Arabic Speakers

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