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


abhor, abominate, detest, execrate, hate, loathe



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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

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!
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Recent Examples on the Web

There’s those who loved Fantastic Beasts, Crimes of Grindelwald, or Cursed Child, and then there are those who adamantly despised them. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Game Of Thrones & Harry Potter Are Over. But For Diehard Fans, It’s Still A Way Of Life," 24 Aug. 2019 That cultural richness is celebrated by El Pasoans but despised by the man accused of killing 22 people and wounding dozens more at a Walmart two weeks earlier. Robert Moore,, "El Paso turns out for widower of Walmart massacre victim," 17 Aug. 2019 Gavrilov supports independence for the regions and is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is despised by many Georgians. Fox News, "Protesters try storming Georgian Parliament over Russian lawmaker's visit," 21 June 2019 Taking over from Kevin Keegan back in 2008, he was despised by the fans, turning the team into a laughing stock whilst forgetting some of the player's names., "Newcastle: 10 Managerial Candidates Mike Ashley (Probably) Considered Before Steve Bruce," 19 July 2019 Except in the case of Renoir, who, despite his place in the history of Western art, remains, frankly, despised by a considerable portion of experts and amateurs. Dan Singer, Dallas News, "Hatred for Renoir's art is reaching all-time levels. Is it really justified?," 28 June 2019 Little wonder that Pam despises 29-year-old Ricky (Nicholas Harazin), a weak and tortured administrator who is both too sensitive and decent to be wielding a hatchet. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Teachers battle the odds and get their due in Forward Theater's 'Exit Strategy'," 20 Jan. 2018 But one thing is certain: Hitler already had more than enough reason to despise the Munich Post. Washington Post, "AP BOOK EXCERPT: The ‘Enemy of the People’," 1 Sep. 2019 And what seems like a vast majority of the country actually despising him. CBS News, "Transcript: Juan Cruz talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 14 Aug. 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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Statistics for despise

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for despise

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

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More Definitions for despise



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

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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

Comments on despise

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to be made up of

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