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 Many Brazilians have expressed anger at how slowly their government acquired vaccines and a corruption scandal involving vaccine deals. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 11 Oct. 2021 Earlier this year, Wallen faced an industry reckoning after a video of him using a racial slur was made public, while Cam has been outspoken about country music’s race problem since before Wallen’s scandal. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, 11 Oct. 2021 The accusation followed a scandal that erupted on social media when Hammer’s alleged DMs were published on Effie’s anonymous Instagram account. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 11 Oct. 2021 Two wealthy parents were convicted Friday of buying their kids' way into school as athletic recruits in the first case to go to trial in the college admissions cheating scandal that embroiled prestigious universities across the country. Fox News, 9 Oct. 2021 Two wealthy parents were convicted Friday of buying their kids’ way into school as athletic recruits in the first case to go to trial in the college admissions cheating scandal that embroiled prestigious universities across the country. NBC News, 8 Oct. 2021 The case has echoes of the massive Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal that cost that company billions of dollars and resulted in VW pleading guilty to three felonies. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 1 Oct. 2021 Lori Loughlin is set to return to acting this holiday season following a two-month prison sentence for her role in the college admissions cheating scandal. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 29 Sep. 2021 On hold: The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to delay its ruling that the state of Ohio can pursue hundreds of billions of dollars in penalties from Volkswagen for the automaker’s 2015 emissions cheating scandal. cleveland, 19 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ohio Democrats meanwhile have struggled in the past to tie Republicans to scandal. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 25 July 2021 Los Angeles indie-rock lifers Surf Curse went from obscurity to scandal to a major-label deal in 10 months, thanks to TikTok. Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2021 Quipping about the status of a business that Volkswagen is positioning as more environmentally friendly also could irk investors, especially in light of the 2015 diesel emissions scandal the company has been trying to put behind it. Clare Duffy, CNN, 31 Mar. 2021 Social scientists predicted the Cambridge Analytica scandal way back in 2007. Felix Salmon, WIRED, 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

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

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Statistics for scandal

Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scandal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for scandal



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

More from Merriam-Webster on scandal

Nglish: Translation of scandal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scandal for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scandal


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