disdain

noun
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

disdain

verb
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

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Choose the Right Synonym for disdain

Verb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Steve Bruce has recently been appointed as head coach of the Magpies to much disdain, with a vocal section of club's fans finding the appointment hugely disappointing and deeming it as a step back from previous boss Rafael Benitez. SI.com, "Joelinton Set to Become Club-Record Newcastle Signing & First of Steve Bruce Era," 17 July 2019 So Trump’s disdain for checks and balances and traditional democratic norms has sullied America’s global reputation and the respect that adversaries pay. Trudy Rubin, The Mercury News, "Rubin: Joe Biden has advanced the key foreign-policy issue of 2020," 16 July 2019 Their clashes are layered with both disdain and a hunger for understanding in similar quantities. Carlos Aguilar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Jim Gaffigan doubles up in ‘Being Frank’," 27 June 2019 Critics said both men's actions and statements show disdain for the security establishment in the country and their comments could compromise Pakistan's national security. Sophia Saifi, CNN, "Ex-intelligence chief barred from leaving Pakistan over explosive book," 31 May 2018 And those routinely dismissed as bigots might decide to leave a party that so openly expresses its disdain for them. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Anthony Kennedy and the Death of True American Conservatism," 29 June 2018 But voters in suburban Fairfax and Loudoun counties overwhelmingly rejected these appeals, supporting Gov. Ralph S. Northam with landslide margins in large part to send a message about their disdain for Mr. Trump. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Forget Tax Cuts. Trump Wants to Rally the G.O.P. Base Over Immigration.," 18 June 2018 Rapper Azealia Banks spent the last few days tweeting about her disdain for RuPaul and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Azealia Banks' Twitter Account Deactivated After Slamming Monet X Change," 6 June 2018 The protagonist, Scott Bradley, critiques their looks, ridicules their boyfriends and is enraged by their disdain. Steve Hendrix, Anchorage Daily News, "He always hated women. Then he decided to kill them.," 7 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Earlier this year, Chuck Grindle, the state’s technology chief, publicly disdained the project and questioned the prudence of switching state agencies over to the unproven network, the Courier Journal previously reported. Alfred Miller, The Courier-Journal, "KentuckyWired project overcomes squirrels to complete long-delayed initial phase," 28 June 2019 In a country as égalité-obsessed as France, this combination of policy changes was almost inevitably going to play into an angry narrative that the former investment-banker president disdains the common man. Catherine Rampell, The Denver Post, "Rampell: France’s carbon tax was a disaster, but there might be a less politically fraught way," 23 June 2019 The nineteenth century, with its medicine and machines and positive thinking, always had a shadow disdaining it: the reactionary dandy. Adam Thirlwell, The New York Review of Books, "Lunches in the Maelstrom," 17 June 2019 George Allen, the Redskins’ coach of the 1970s, disdained young players and happily dealt away many of his picks for veterans. New York Times, "The Browns Have a Great N.F.L. Draft (It’s a Movie)," 26 Apr. 2018 That’s where Max meets Rooster (Harrison Ford), a cattle dog who actually works for a living and who disdains Max – as much for his life of leisure as his nervous nature. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: More like the ‘Mildly Entertaining Life of Pets 2’," 6 June 2019 Southern agrarians disdained capitalism; Peter Viereck spent his time lecturing Americans on the virtues of Metternich and that great homegrown Tory, FDR. Richard Brookhiser, National Review, "Moving Portrait," 4 June 2019 Republican leaders there have often derided the idea of global warming and disdained taxes as a solution. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Exxon Puts Up $1 Million to Promote Carbon Tax," 9 Oct. 2018 And for those who disdain legalization, that feeling is not always absolute, either. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "Most Americans Want Legal Status for ‘Dreamers.’ These People Don’t.," 25 Jan. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of disdain

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disdain

Noun

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

Verb

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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Statistics for disdain

Last Updated

23 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disdain

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

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More Definitions for disdain

disdain

noun

English Language Learners Definition of disdain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of strong dislike or disapproval of someone or something you think does not deserve respect

disdain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of disdain (Entry 2 of 2)

formal
: to strongly dislike or disapprove of (someone or something)
: to refuse to do (something) because of feelings of dislike or disapproval

disdain

noun
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

disdain

verb
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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on disdain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disdain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disdain

Spanish Central: Translation of disdain

Nglish: Translation of disdain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disdain for Arabic Speakers

Comments on disdain

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