noun scan·dal \ˈskan-dəl\

Definition of scandal

  1. 1a :  discredit brought upon religion by unseemly conduct in a religious personb :  conduct that causes or encourages a lapse of faith or of religious obedience in another

  2. 2 :  loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety :  disgrace

  3. 3a :  a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with itb :  a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality <a scandal to the profession>

  4. 4 :  malicious or defamatory gossip

  5. 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.

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

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of scandal

offense, resentment, umbrage, pique, dudgeon, huff mean an emotional response to or an emotional state resulting from a slight or indignity. offense implies hurt displeasure <takes deep offense at racial slurs>. resentment suggests lasting indignation or ill will <harbored a lifelong resentment of his brother>. umbrage may suggest hurt pride, resentment, or suspicion of another's motives <took umbrage at the offer of advice>. pique applies to a transient feeling of wounded vanity <in a pique I foolishly declined the invitation>. dudgeon suggests an angry fit of indignation <stormed out of the meeting in high dudgeon>. huff implies a peevish short-lived spell of anger usually at a petty cause <in a huff he slammed the door>.

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>.



transitive verb scan·dal

Definition of scandal

  1. 1 obsolete :  disgrace

  2. 2 chiefly dialect :  defame, slander


First Known Use of scandal


SCANDAL Defined for English Language Learners



noun scan·dal \ˈskan-dəl\

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. 1 :  something that angers or shocks people because rules or standards of behavior are violated

  2. 2 :  talk that injures a person's good name

Seen and Heard

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


skillful, artistic, or intricate

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog-cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.