disdain

noun
dis·​dain | \dis-ˈdān \

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 \

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. His audience would be one he often condescended to—the black masses. — 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

They were also taken aback by the disdain the president, along with some senior administration figures, showed toward his fellow leaders inside and outside the meeting. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Europe Considers Next Moves After Trump’s G-7 Brush-Off," 11 June 2018 Since the presidential campaign, Popovich has shared his disdain for Donald Trump. Rick Maese, chicagotribune.com, "'Insulted' pro-Trump Spurs fans feel forced to choose between their team and the president," 16 Apr. 2018 Mike’s disdain for what’s expected in modern stadia isn’t aimed at you, fan. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc: Xavier left its defense on Victory Parkway," 11 Jan. 2018 Trump’s disdain for the alliances and organizations the United States helped forge after World War II has unsettled the international order. Ceylan Yeginsu, BostonGlobe.com, "Big protests greet Trump in Britain," 13 July 2018 More broadly, Trump has shown deep disdain for NATO from his days on the campaign trail. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Trump's European trip: Trade wars, Brexit chaos — and a Russia quandary," 10 July 2018 Their past opacity has shielded them from searching criticism, but exposed them instead to the laziest disdain. The Economist, "China’s statistics are bad. Many criticisms of them are worse," 7 July 2018 Like Pruitt, this veteran coal lobbyist has shown only disdain for the EPA’s vital mission to protect Americans’ health and our environment. Heidi Vogt, WSJ, "Acting EPA Chief Plans to Stick With Trump’s Priorities," 6 July 2018 The playing field is heavily tilted in favor of the enemies of democracy, the entrenched power structure of profiteers, plunderers and polluters who have shown an utter disdain for the Constitution, the rule of law or the will of the people. Jamshed Dastur, latimes.com, "This is not who we are as Americans. Or is it?," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

McCain courted the press corps assiduously while Trump disdains it. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "John McCain, who died at 81, explained," 26 Aug. 2018 Adverbs clutter the sentences, an over-embroidery which Hemingway would disdain. Mameve Medwed, BostonGlobe.com, "Reviving Gellhorn and Hemingway, mostly," 11 May 2018 Ironically, Bourdain had cited his early lows in disdaining the idea that fame made life harder. Hillel Italie, chicagotribune.com, "Anthony Bourdain suicide a reminder of celebrities' distance from us," 8 June 2018 Whether the American President is a judicious rationalist who cares about international law and disdains the cowboy image or an impulsive narcissist who is indifferent to every norm and just wants to look tough, the images from Syria are the same. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Erratic Threats to Bashar al-Assad," 15 Apr. 2018 Contrary to the beliefs of some locals who disdain any change at all, there is no tragedy in jettisoning the names of people who no longer reflect what San Francisco wants to be about. Caille Millner, San Francisco Chronicle, "Phelan Street honors a racist, so it might be time to name it for Frida Kahlo," 16 Mar. 2018 Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, of Brazil, is the sort of human being that English and American soccer pundits, schooled in the cult of manly stoicism and prone to self-righteous sermons about fair play, were born to disdain. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Annoying Genius Who Makes the World Cup Worth Watching," 5 July 2018 Americans typically disdain shoulder, but Mexicans happily consume the cut in dishes such as tacos al pastor. The Economist, "American firms will be hit hard by retaliatory tariffs," 7 June 2018 The right will disdain you; the left will pillory you. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "If We Want to End the Border Crisis, It’s Time to Give Trump His Wall," 22 June 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

12 Nov 2018

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)

: 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 \

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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Comments on disdain

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