noun scan·dal \ ˈskan-dᵊl \
Updated on: 21 Feb 2018

Definition of scandal

1 a : 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
2 : loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety : disgrace
3 a : 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
4 : malicious or defamatory gossip
5 : indignation, chagrin, or bewilderment brought about by a flagrant violation of morality, propriety, or religious opinion

Examples of scandal in a Sentence

  1. There was a major scandal involving the mayor's ties with the Mob.

  2. Government officials were caught in an embezzlement scandal.

  3. Her behavior caused a scandal at school.

  4. There was never a hint of scandal during her time in office.

  5. The gossip magazine is filled with rumors and scandal.

  6. The high price of gas these days is a scandal.

  7. It's a scandal that this city doesn't have a movie theater.

Recent Examples of scandal from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of scandal

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

scandal Synonyms


credit, honor;

Near Antonyms

boast, glory, jewel, pride, treasure;

Related Words

blot, brand, slur, smirch, spot, stain, stigma, taint;

Synonym Discussion of 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




Definition of scandal

transitive verb
1 obsolete : disgrace
2 chiefly dialectal : defame, slander

First Known Use of scandal


SCANDAL Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of scandal for English Language Learners

  • : 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

SCANDAL Defined for Kids


noun scan·dal \ ˈskan-dəl \

Definition of scandal for Students

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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