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

Morale began to quickly plummet as the political ranks showed not only ignorance of, but disdain for the wide-ranging agency mission. Oliver Milman, Scientific American, "The Silenced: Meet the Climate Whistle-Blowers Muzzled by the Trump Administration," 17 Sep. 2019 And if so, do investors respond with approval or with disdain? Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "The Battle Between AT&T and its Angriest Investor is Just Getting Started. Here’s What to Watch for Next," 10 Sep. 2019 But for now, bask in the glory of the commercials; enjoy the idea of a transparent iPhone; and gaze upon your current iPhone with disdain. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "This video reimagines the iPhone as a retro Macintosh," 14 July 2019 With good reason the gilets jaunes and many of those who voted for Brexit imagine that the governing class regards them with disdain. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 Russian scorn for liberal democracy has a long history, and a certain kind of Russian disdain for the West is nothing new. Anne Applebaum, Twin Cities, "Anne Applebaum: Putin’s attack on Western values was familiar. The American reaction was not.," 3 July 2019 There, towering over me, was a woman wearing a look of disdain. Elliott Hester, latimes.com, "That flight attendant in a passenger seat? He's not on duty so leave him alone," 1 July 2019 Patriots fans have more disdain for the Colts, Jets, and maybe the Broncos. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "Can the Patriots supplant the Steelers as the NFL’s winningest dynasty?," 7 Sep. 2019 King was a Jeffersonian Democrat, or Democratic-Republican, who held a lifelong disdain for the national bank, was opposed to tariffs, and supported the War of 1812. Thomas Balcerski, Smithsonian, "The 175-Year History of Speculating About President James Buchanan’s Bachelorhood," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Perhaps most surprising, conservatives who disdained Mr. Trump and considered his views on trade, immigration and national security to be heretical are increasingly drifting toward him. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Battle for the GOP’s Soul? Trump Has Won," 22 Oct. 2018 Acosta’s role has been controversial beyond a White House that clearly disdains him. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Jim Acosta Describes Why He Attacks Trump," 21 June 2019 His campaign is wealthier and better organized than before, with strong support from a Republican Party that disdained him as a gate-crasher last time. Noah Bierman, latimes.com, "Trump hasn’t sold his reelection to all of his base yet," 18 June 2019 But a wholesome desire to preserve ourselves from foolish or tyrannical rule often devolves into disdaining government altogether. E.j. Dionne Jr., The Mercury News, "Dionne: How government can expand freedom," 27 Aug. 2019 Pompeo’s transformation reflects the larger story of how the Republican Party went from disdaining Trump to embracing him with barely a murmur of dissent. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of Trump," 19 Aug. 2019 Crowbarred into the country via the coast of modern-day Slovenia, the city was even more marginalised by the northern powerhouses it quasi-neighboured than those disdained-for nether regions in the south. SI.com, "Nereo Rocco: 'El Paron', the Pioneer of Catenaccio & Forgotten Great of Italian Football," 30 July 2019 After that, almost everything was from the 21st century, but even classical music fans who disdain modernism could surely embrace the beauty of these works. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Summer Singers may have the hope and harmony you need," 21 July 2019 From Henry Ford to Donald Trump, America has lionized business leaders (and shameless bankrupts) who disdain history. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "1998 Was a Seinfeld Election—Not an Impeachment Referendum," 6 June 2019

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

15 Oct 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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