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 \
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

Over the course of a ten-hour hearing, Strzok fought back defending the FBI while also expressing regret for his personal statements expressing disdain for then-candidate Donald Trump. Devlin Barrett And Matt Zapotosky, chicagotribune.com, "12 Russian intelligence officers charged by Mueller in hack of DNC, Clinton emails," 13 July 2018 Over the course of a ten-hour hearing, Strzok fought back defending the FBI while also expressing regret for his personal statements expressing disdain for then-candidate Donald Trump. Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, "Mueller indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly conspiring to hack 2016 U.S. presidential election," 13 July 2018 Peter Strzok, a senior FBI agent who expressed disdain for Trump in private text messages during the campaign, was questioned in a closed-door session Wednesday. Chris Megerian, latimes.com, "Rosenstein and FBI chief will testify today in the House on alleged FBI bias in Russia probe," 28 June 2018 Trump has frequently expressed disdain for the EU and was an enthusiastic cheerleader after Britain voted to leave the bloc. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "The West is in crisis, despite Trump's glowing assessment," 9 June 2018 Everything Is Borrowed embrace grief, outrage, uplift, and shades of hope and despair, love and disdain, in between. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Nathaniel Popkin is a Philly author with a rare double play - two new books at once," 11 July 2018 India, where world rankings were once regarded with post-colonial disdain, is the latest to join the race: in 2016 the finance minister announced that 20 institutions would aim to become world-class universities. The Economist, "How global university rankings are changing higher education," 17 May 2018 Cosby watched it all with an air of disdain, often rocking in his chair, holding his chin high. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, "Bill Cosby convicted on three counts of sexual assault," 26 Apr. 2018 On a grander scale, the notion of bonding through disdain has been a fundamental cornerstone for cementing relationships throughout history, and almost all variations have been mirrored by protagonists in our popular culture. Shana Gohd, Harper's BAZAAR, "Your Biggest Dislikes Could Be the Secret to Finding Love," 12 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Van Gogh of the film is in his waning years, and disdained by most of his peers — including, to some extent, his buddy Paul Gauguin, played by Oscar Isaac. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "How Willem Dafoe learned to paint like Vincent Van Gogh," 14 Nov. 2018 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

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

14 Jan 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)

: 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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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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