scan·​dal | \ ˈskan-dᵊl How to pronounce scandal (audio) \

Definition of scandal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
b : a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality a scandal to the profession
2 : loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety : disgrace
3 : malicious or defamatory gossip
4 : indignation, chagrin, or bewilderment brought about by a flagrant violation of morality, propriety, or religious opinion
5a : discredit brought upon religion by unseemly conduct in a religious person
b : conduct that causes or encourages a lapse of faith or of religious obedience in another


scandaled; scandaling; scandals

Definition of scandal (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 chiefly dialectal : defame, slander
2 obsolete : disgrace

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Synonyms & Antonyms for scandal

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for scandal


offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code. at that school no offense went unpunished sin implies an offense against moral or religious law. the sin of blasphemy vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts. regarded gambling as a vice crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state. the crime of murder scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience. a career ruined by a sex scandal

Examples of scandal in a Sentence

Noun There was a major scandal involving the mayor's ties with the Mob. Government officials were caught in an embezzlement scandal. Her behavior caused a scandal at school. There was never a hint of scandal during her time in office. The gossip magazine is filled with rumors and scandal. The high price of gas these days is a scandal. It's a scandal that this city doesn't have a movie theater.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The clawbacks and pay cuts are a concession to shareholders who will shoulder the financial cost of the scandal and employees whose own bonuses this year are likely to shrink because of it. Liz Hoffman And Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Goldman Sachs Executives to Forfeit $174 Million in 1MDB Punishment," 22 Oct. 2020 This nonfiction piece runs at a swift ninety minutes, tackling the labyrinthine subject that is the Russian Plot/Steele Dossier scandal. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: Predicting Bengals vs. Browns this Sunday," 22 Oct. 2020 Former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Kuala Lumpur court for money laundering connected with the scandal. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, "Goldman Sachs fined record $2.9 billion to resolve 1MDB bribery scheme," 22 Oct. 2020 The scandal also brought down the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2018. Pete Williams, NBC News, "Goldman Sachs agrees to record $2.9 billion DOJ settlement, admits wrongdoing in embezzlement scandal," 22 Oct. 2020 Goldman Sachs will reportedly settle with the Justice Department, perhaps this week, over its role in the Malaysian 1MDB government fund scandal. David Meyer, Fortune, "Time to concede that the EU’s antitrust action was about Google, not America," 21 Oct. 2020 Sean Hannity has a news crew staked outside of Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s home, urging him to address the Hunter Biden scandal. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "'What is wrong with Joe Biden?': Hannity sends news crew to Biden's home to discuss Hunter Biden scandal," 21 Oct. 2020 The national financial crime intelligence agency, two police forces and a public sector corruption watchdog have been drawn into the Vatican scandal, although details of what has piqued their interest in Australia remained scant on Wednesday. Rod Mcguirk, Star Tribune, "Australian law enforcement examine Vatican money trail," 21 Oct. 2020 Athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete at international events, including the Olympics, under a neutral flag. Tariq Panja, New York Times, "After Doping Scandal, Russia Hacked the Olympics, U.S. and Britain Say," 20 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Social scientists predicted the Cambridge Analytica scandal way back in 2007. Felix Salmon, WIRED, "The Case for A Zuck-Free Facebook," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scandal.' 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 scandal


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5a


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for scandal


Middle English, from Late Latin scandalum stumbling block, offense, from Greek skandalon trap, stumbling block, offense; akin to Latin scandere to climb

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Time Traveler for scandal

Time Traveler

The first known use of scandal was in the 13th century

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Statistics for scandal

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scandal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for scandal


How to pronounce scandal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scandal

: an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong
: talk about the shocking or immoral things that people have done or are believed to have done
: something that is shocking, upsetting, or unacceptable


scan·​dal | \ ˈskan-dəl How to pronounce scandal (audio) \

Kids Definition of scandal

1 : something that angers or shocks people because rules or standards of behavior are violated
2 : talk that injures a person's good name

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Comments on scandal

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