dis·​dain·​ful dis-ˈdān-fəl How to pronounce disdainful (audio)
: full of or expressing contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior : full of or expressing scorn or disdain
a disdainful glare
is disdainful of all modern art
disdainfully adverb
disdainfulness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for disdainful

proud, arrogant, haughty, lordly, insolent, overbearing, supercilious, disdainful mean showing scorn for inferiors.

proud may suggest an assumed superiority or loftiness.

too proud to take charity

arrogant implies a claiming for oneself of more consideration or importance than is warranted.

a conceited and arrogant executive

haughty suggests a consciousness of superior birth or position.

a haughty aristocrat

lordly implies pomposity or an arrogant display of power.

a lordly condescension

insolent implies contemptuous haughtiness.

ignored by an insolent waiter

overbearing suggests a tyrannical manner or an intolerable insolence.

an overbearing supervisor

supercilious implies a cool, patronizing haughtiness.

an aloof and supercilious manner

disdainful suggests a more active and openly scornful superciliousness.

disdainful of their social inferiors

Examples of disdainful in a Sentence

He looked at the waiter with a disdainful glare. a disdainful attitude toward authority
Recent Examples on the Web Defiant and at times disdainful of the Biden administration’s stance, their comments made clear the widening rift between Israel and the United States over the war and the prospect of a full-scale invasion of Rafah, where about a million Palestinians are sheltering. Michael Levenson, New York Times, 9 May 2024 The hard pass is especially effective when paired with a refusal to look up from your phone or a disdainful loogie hock. Evan Waite, The New Yorker, 10 Apr. 2024 The girl's disdainful parents, unimpressed with her intelligence and independent spirit, decide to send her to Crunchem Hall, where the ruthless headmistress (Emma Thompson) specializes in bringing troublemaking tykes into line. Danny Horn, EW.com, 31 Jan. 2024 This might not matter to the protesters, who are largely disdainful of the political system and want little to do with it — but such a position comes with measurable political costs. Ross Barkan, New York Times, 7 Feb. 2024 Even DiCaprio was, at times, openly disdainful of his adolescent admirers; members of his entourage were known to dump water on fans loitering outside his apartment building. Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 20 Oct. 2023 Like their Orange County brethren Social Distortion from down the freeway in Fullerton, Bad Religion was made up of high school students disdainful of high school. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Sep. 2023 The two cops are linked here, too, since Liz continues to be utterly disdainful of Leah’s attempts to connect with her heritage, while Navarro’s mother never told Evangeline what her Inupiaq name is. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 28 Jan. 2024 Concerns about appearing disdainful of holiday spirit did not rise to that level. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, 21 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disdainful.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see disdain entry 2

First Known Use

circa 1542, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disdainful was circa 1542

Dictionary Entries Near disdainful

Cite this Entry

“Disdainful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disdainful. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​dain·​ful dis-ˈdān-fəl How to pronounce disdainful (audio)
: full of or expressing disdain
disdainfully adverb
disdainfulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disdainful

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