de·​spi·​ca·​ble di-ˈspi-kə-bəl How to pronounce despicable (audio) ˈde-(ˌ)spi- How to pronounce despicable (audio)
: deserving to be despised : so worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation
despicable behavior
despicableness noun
di-ˈspi-kə-blē How to pronounce despicable (audio)
Choose the Right Synonym for despicable

contemptible, despicable, pitiable, sorry, scurvy mean arousing or deserving scorn.

contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of values.

a contemptible liar

despicable may imply utter worthlessness and usually suggests arousing an attitude of moral indignation.

a despicable crime

pitiable applies to what inspires mixed contempt and pity.

a pitiable attempt at tragedy

sorry may stress pitiable inadequacy or may suggest wretchedness or sordidness.

this rattletrap is a sorry excuse for a car

scurvy adds to despicable an implication of arousing disgust.

a scurvy crew of hangers-on

Examples of despicable in a Sentence

She is a despicable traitor. even within the prison population, pedophiles are regarded as particularly despicable
Recent Examples on the Web Instead of standing up against international bullies, the U.S. abstained, allowing a despicable resolution to pass. The Editors, National Review, 26 Mar. 2024 But by taking content moderation seriously earlier than many of its rivals, and coming up with a sensible, scalable plan to root out despicable behavior, Reddit was able to shed its image as the sewage pit of the internet and become a respectable (if not yet profitable) public company. Kevin Roose, New York Times, 21 Mar. 2024 The thing to understand is this: the right to free speech protects highly offensive, vulgar and despicable speech along with enlightening, respectful and affirming speech. Douglas S. Lavine, Hartford Courant, 6 Jan. 2024 Continue reading … ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ – Alabama Sen. Britt shreds Biden for ‘despicable’ border crisis in Republican rebuttal. Fox News, 8 Mar. 2024 Abdul’s accusations against Lythgoe are false, despicable, intolerable, and life-changing. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2024 Many may withhold their votes in November, anointing the despicable Trump. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 4 Mar. 2024 And secondly, who, ultimately, was the most despicable man on the list? Radhika Seth, Vogue, 12 Jan. 2024 No wonder that many of the despicable people tearing down posters of Israeli and American citizens abducted by Hamas on October 7 are young women, many of whom seem immune to shame for their noxious behavior. Daniel Foster, National Review, 30 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'despicable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin despicabilis, from Latin despicari to despise

First Known Use

1553, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of despicable was in 1553

Dictionary Entries Near despicable

Cite this Entry

“Despicable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​spi·​ca·​ble di-ˈspik-ə-bəl How to pronounce despicable (audio) ˈdes-(ˌ)pik- How to pronounce despicable (audio)
: deserving to be despised
a despicable traitor
despicableness noun
despicably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on despicable

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