de·​spise | \ di-ˈspīz How to pronounce despise (audio) \
despised; despising

Definition of despise

transitive verb

1 : to look down on with disrespect or aversion despised the weak
2 : to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful despises organized religion

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Other Words from despise

despisement \ di-​ˈspīz-​mənt How to pronounce despisement (audio) \ noun
despiser \ di-​ˈspī-​zər How to pronounce despiser (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for despise



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Choose the Right Synonym for despise

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

Examples of despise in a Sentence

He and Julie grooved to Cuban son and jazz on NPR and loved arty films, for instance; and they distrusted big business and despised tract houses, malls, and other aesthetically unpleasing byproducts of a consumer society. — Brian C. Anderson, National Review, 13 Mar. 2006 She was despised as a hypocrite. I despise anchovies on pizza, and I refuse to eat them!
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Recent Examples on the Web And those who despise Hollywood liberal speechifying will have found their hate watch. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "How 'The West Wing' reunion on HBO Max both preaches to the choir and trolls Donald Trump," 15 Oct. 2020 Again, the lesson of 2016 should be that the coastal pundit may despise what the undecided Midwesterner admires. WSJ, "Is There Still Hope for the Trump Campaign?," 13 Oct. 2020 Progressives tend to despise him for saying harm reduction needs to be paired with far more treatment opportunities and real punishment for dealers. Heather Knight,, "Two deaths a day: S.F. drug overdoses fueled by fentanyl are spiking, new figures show," 9 Oct. 2020 Boom appears poised to inject new life into an industry that consumers have grown to despise. Ashlee Vance,, "Aviation Outsider Builds Supersonic Jet for Transatlantic Flight," 6 Oct. 2020 Led by the Grand High Witch (Hathaway), these creatures despise one thing above all else: children. Natalie Morin,, "Anne Hathaway’s Witch Queen Is Coming To Your House For Halloween," 4 Oct. 2020 The company prides itself on not relying on the kinds of fees that consumers despise (and that many people can't afford right now). Matt Egan, CNN, "This startup is taking on big banks. And it's working.," 5 Oct. 2020 The woman's whole personality is having tiny dogs and liking ruffles, there's really not that much to despise. Jodi Walker,, "The Real Housewives of New York City recap: Tinsley who must not be named," 4 Sep. 2020 And yet, until recently, no one had bothered to ask how Cawthorn came to love Donald Trump, the president so many of his peers and contemporaries despise. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "Madison Cawthorn Is the Future of the Republican Party," 19 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'despise.' 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 despise

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for despise

Middle English, from Anglo-French despis-, stem of despire, from Latin despicere, from de- + specere to look — more at spy

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Time Traveler for despise

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for despise

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Despise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for despise


How to pronounce despise (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of despise

: to dislike (something or someone) very much


de·​spise | \ di-ˈspīz How to pronounce despise (audio) \
despised; despising

Kids Definition of despise

: to feel scorn and dislike for

Choose the Right Synonym for despise

despise and scorn mean to consider a person or thing as not worth noticing or taking an interest in. despise may be used of feeling ranging from strong dislike to true hatred. I despise liars. scorn is used of a deep and ready feeling of angry disgust for anything that a person doesn't respect. The sergeant scorned the soldiers who were lazy.

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