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

Definition of scandal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
3a : 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


scandaled; scandaling; scandals

Definition of scandal (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 obsolete : disgrace
2 chiefly dialectal : defame, slander

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Synonyms & Antonyms for scandal

Synonyms: Noun

disgrace, dishonor, opprobrium, reflection, reproach

Antonyms: Noun

credit, honor

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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


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 coverage hinted at scandal, particularly because of Paul’s past. Kevin Cullen,, "Courtney Kennedy and Paul Hill’s enduring agony," 3 Aug. 2019 Yet, with exceptions such as the Watergate scandal, the business of government continued to rumble along. The Economist, "Are Western democracies becoming ungovernable?," 1 Aug. 2019 But Slate’s excellent podcast Slow Burn has produced two gripping seasons about the Watergate and Lewinsky scandals, respectively. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The Best History Podcasts to Listen to Right Now," 31 July 2019 Although Serie A has become a much more revered and exciting league over recent years, having freed itself from the shackles of the 'Calciopoli' scandal, one minor issue is still to be addressed., "Napoli: Gli Azzurri Could Finally End Juventus' Domestic Dominance Next Season," 30 July 2019 Eight people have been charged in the scandal, all either formerly with FCA or the UAW. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Former UAW VP compared to captain of Titanic in plea for leniency," 30 July 2019 Ever since reports came out that Lori was a part of the nationwide college admissions scandal, Candace has continued to support her co-star of over 30 years. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Candace Cameron Speaks Out on Instagram of Lori Loughlin's Daughter Bella Giannulli," 29 July 2019 Even before the scandals, many Puerto Ricans had become frustrated by systemic problems on the island, which is still reeling from devastating storms and years of economic weakness. CBS News, "Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigns after 12 days of protests," 25 July 2019 According to the charges, William Singer, the mastermind behind the scandal, worked with psychologists to obtain false disability reports that gave the teens special testing accommodations. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Lifetime Is Producing a College Admissions Scandal Movie," 23 July 2019

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 1a


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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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Statistics for scandal

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scandal

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

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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

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Comments on scandal

What made you want to look up scandal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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