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

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 The authors note that the disdain for social media, as of this year, is a fully bipartisan phenomenon. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 Too many politicians talk about ‘those people’ with disdain. Jill Filipovic, Harper's BAZAAR, "Your State-by-State Guide to Women Running in the Midterms," 31 Oct. 2018 Anything that threatens the primacy of that role is often treated with disdain and skepticism. Elspeth Dehnert, Marie Claire, "A Game-Changer," 29 Sep. 2016 The designer’s statement was less about disdain for the Trumps, and more about his love for the country. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Tom Ford Addresses Rumors That He Called Melania Trump a "Glorified Escort"," 20 Mar. 2019 All my fantasies sound oddly cartoonish and G-rated: to be the victim of an almost mundane disdain and garden-variety cruelty. Lena Dunham, Vogue, "Can a Good Man Mistreat You During Sex—If That’s What You Desire?," 18 Mar. 2019 His Feste is also sadly distant but never disdainful, as even disdain admits to emotional involvement. Hugh Hunter, Philly.com, "Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's 'Twelfth Night': A hilarious tragedy on human frailty," 24 June 2018 One of those ideas was a disdain for television, which in the novel saps the intellect and creativity of all who watch. Daniel D'addario, Time, "HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 Extinguishes What Made the Book Great," 14 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Most biographers, by nature an empathetic lot, have sought to explain Wilson’s feats and flaws rather than to justify or disdain them. Michael Kazin, New York Times, "Woodrow Wilson Achieved a Lot. So Why Is He So Scorned?," 22 June 2018 The key thing about these scams is that in both cases the snobby cultural elites who Trump professes to disdain didn’t lose anything. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The biggest lie Trump tells is that he’s kept his promises," 18 Oct. 2018 For a president with a Russia problem – especially one who disdains preparation and scripted talking points – a summit like this is nothing to rush into. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Trump scores on his own goal," 16 July 2018 Unhappily married to a cold man who disdains her volunteer work with prison inmates, Carol is unprepared for Chris’s romantic expectations. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "Review: On Parole and in Love in ‘Outside In’," 29 Mar. 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

11 Jun 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

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