dis·​dain | \ dis-ˈdān How to pronounce disdain (audio) \

Definition of disdain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior : scorn


dis·​dain | \ dis-ˈdān How to pronounce disdain (audio) \
disdained; disdaining; disdains

Definition of disdain (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to look on with scorn disdained him as a coward
2 : to refuse or abstain from because of a feeling of contempt or scorn disdained to answer their questions
3 : to treat as beneath one's notice or dignity

Choose the Right Synonym for disdain


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 disdain in a Sentence

Noun McCarthy's indifference to accolades and his disdain for grandstanding … turned into a disdain even for being understood. — Louis Menand, New Yorker, 5 Apr. 2004 There is fierce disdain within the Pentagon for the passive U.N. peacekeepers who stood by while thousands were murdered in Bosnia's ethnic cleansing. — Joe Klein, Time, 24 Nov. 2003 But for all its playful love of puns and cool disdain for "suits," the high-tech world is, at heart, a cruel, unforgiving place ruled by the merciless dynamics of the marketplace. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 27 June 2002 He regarded their proposal with disdain. I have a healthy disdain for companies that mistreat their workers. Verb The right eyes him [Thomas Jefferson] suspiciously as a limousine Jacobin so enamored of revolution that he once suggested we should have one every 20 years. The left disdains him as your basic race hypocrite. — Charles Krauthammer, Time, 22 May 2000 Only in our last days on the peninsula (the arm of Antarctica that polar scientists disdain as the "Banana Belt") did we see our first frozen sea … — Kate Ford, Wall Street Journal, 12 June 1998 His vehicle would be a form he both enjoyed and disdained—pulp fiction. — Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times Book Review, 20 Sept. 1992 There is also evidence of epic womanizing that Mr. Schickel mentions but loftily announces that he disdains to tell us about. — Camille Paglia, New York Times Book Review, 21 July 1991 They disdained him for being weak. She disdained to answer their questions. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His college choice was Arnold Palmer’s alma mater — Wake Forest — and the disdain for miscues was legendary. Jim Mccabe, BostonGlobe.com, 10 June 2022 Trump, Esper recounts in ‘’A Sacred Oath,’’ had developed a disdain for Stanley McChrystal and William McRaven, popular and influential leaders who, in retirement, criticized the president. BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2022 Jessica Biel has a complex turn as the titular murderess, a thin veneer of professional suburban housewifery pasted over a deep disdain for her own humdrum life. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, 7 May 2022 The man charged in the 1971 killing of a Massachusetts mother has a long criminal record and a general disdain for the justice system, the prosecutor said Wednesday in arguing that the suspect be detained without bail. CBS News, 24 Mar. 2022 As Wahlberg's Instagram page shows, the former Calvin Klein underwear model has impossible abs and a clear disdain for shirts. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 17 Feb. 2022 But each of them contain one common thread: a concerted, explicit disdain for Black women. Nicole Young, ELLE, 26 Jan. 2022 Clarence Mock, a Nebraska lawyer who represented Mike Potter—one of the farmers who worked with Constant—recently proposed that the scheme may have been sustained, in part, by a disdain for organic consumers. Ian Parker, The New Yorker, 8 Nov. 2021 No male celebrity in recent memory has cooked up this flavor of public disdain. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 24 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Most of the characters in the book simply disdain other people, period. Jess Bergman, The New Republic, 22 June 2022 Some rolled their eyes at the emotional European reaction to events in Ukraine, and pointed to double standards in their neglect of ruinous conflicts elsewhere and disdain for earlier waves of refugees. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 25 May 2022 Those personal experiences can create empathy or disdain for either Depp or Heard. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, 23 May 2022 McDonough and Grace disdain the griddle, opting instead for one of Gunselman’s five cast-iron skillets, passed down through McDonough’s brother. cleveland, 9 May 2022 Please do not read this in any way to disdain the people commemorating the loss of Pearl Grover. cleveland, 26 Feb. 2022 Inevitably, a hierarchy develops; in puzzleland, solvers of those murderously difficult British-style cryptic crosswords sometimes disdain straightforward American ones, the way chess players brush off checkers players. Christopher Bonanos, Town & Country, 27 Jan. 2022 Some writers disdain the culture of the Internet; King is very much a product of it. Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2021 But the opposition coalition will have to continue to rally around Mr. Márki-Zay, who won an unprecedented joint primary this month, despite conservative social values that many opposition voters disdain. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disdain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of disdain


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disdain


Middle English desdeyne, from Anglo-French desdaign, from desdeigner — see disdain entry 2


Middle English desdeynen, from Anglo-French desdeigner, dedeigner, from Vulgar Latin *disdignare, from Latin dis- + dignare to deign — more at deign

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

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disdain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disdain. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for disdain


dis·​dain | \ dis-ˈdān How to pronounce disdain (audio) \

Kids Definition of disdain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of dislike for someone or something considered not good enough She eyed the food with disdain.

Other Words from disdain

disdainful adjective
disdainfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb


disdained; disdaining

Kids Definition of disdain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to feel dislike for something or someone usually for not being good enough He disdained people he felt were weak.
2 : to refuse because of feelings of dislike She disdained to answer.

More from Merriam-Webster on disdain

Nglish: Translation of disdain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disdain for Arabic Speakers


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