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

Keep scrolling for more

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



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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.

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!
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Trump has been known to despise mustaches, such as the one sported by former national security adviser John Bolton. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "US ambassador says he’s unpopular in South Korea because of his mustache," 20 Jan. 2020 So, despising President Trump, who makes this easy, is a substitute for a politics of substance. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Weak political parties smooth the way for demagogues," 27 Oct. 2019 Presidential words that would shame haters and inspire lovers instead stay under wraps, so that some 90 percent of the press can despise Trump in peace. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Don’t Ignore Trump Unifying, Anti-Racist Rhetoric," 9 Aug. 2019 There was no doubt, then, that Spurs were desperate to finally put one over the team that fans despise very nearly as much as Arsenal., "FanView: Why Spurs' Win at Stamford Bridge Was So Much More Than Just an Average Derby Victory," 2 Apr. 2018 Revered in Tehran, he was despised throughout much of the region. Time, "A 'Forever War' With Iran Is Unlikely. But More Death and Violence Seems Inevitable," 3 Jan. 2020 Everyone is against corruption, in theory at least, but there are sharp divides over how to deal with Russia, which is widely despised by Ukrainians outside the breakaway eastern territories. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, "Zelensky’s Opponents Fear He Is Ready to Capitulate to Russia," 5 Dec. 2019 Brexit is despised by much of the financial sector and many small-business owners. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "From Little Englanders to Brexiteers," 11 Nov. 2019 Junius Ho, who is despised by protesters because of his alleged links to violent attacks on demonstrators, was out on the street campaigning for local elections when he was approached by another man on Wednesday. Fox News, "Hong Kong lawmaker with pro-Beijing views stabbed by 'fake supporter'," 7 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about despise

Time Traveler for despise

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for despise

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Despise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on despise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for despise

Spanish Central: Translation of despise

Nglish: Translation of despise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of despise for Arabic Speakers

Comments on despise

What made you want to look up despise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!