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 The man abhors them the same way the Longhorns despise the Sooners. Nick Moyle,, "New women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer has his sights set on titles at Texas," 11 Apr. 2020 Public opinion seems bimodal: People either cherish or despise them. Clive Thompson, Smithsonian, "What the Fight Over Scooters Has in Common With the 19th-Century Battle Over Bicycles," 21 Nov. 2019 If their tweets are any indication, Floridians despise the stuff, more than stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and turkey. Lois K. Solomon,, "And the most hated Thanksgiving food in Florida is...," 19 Nov. 2019 When Jane is ten or eleven, typhus runs rampant at Lowood, the charity school to which she has been consigned by her aunt, who despises her. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Fever Room: Epidemics and Social Distancing in “Bleak House” and “Jane Eyre”," 20 Mar. 2020 In that movie, Wilson’s character -- who despises romantic comedies -- comes to after being knocked unconscious and discovers that her life has become a musical rom-com. Mary Colurso |, al, "Channing Tatum signs on for Disney’s ‘Bob the Musical’," 23 Jan. 2020 For those who despise tanking, saying this draft isn’t worth it, remember that Victor Oladipo, C.J. McCollum, Steven Adams, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert were products of the 2013 NBA draft, which was considered weak. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons are looking to the future. These are the next steps," 4 Jan. 2020 Packer gives the bully and brilliant diplomat the biography treatment, asking readers who may despise the man to appreciate his skill for doing his job. Washington Post, "50 notable works of nonfiction in 2019," 21 Nov. 2019 So Allen despises Colorado State, and doesn’t care who knows it. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: Would Broncos be better off with Bradley Chubb or Josh Allen on their team? That’s an easy answer.," 20 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.

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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

9 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Despise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 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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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

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