scan·dal | \ˈskan-dᵊl \

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

Incognito was banned for two years following his role in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal in 2013. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "NFL's LeSean McCoy Hires Prominent Defense Attorney After Photo of Bloody & Beaten Ex Goes Viral," 11 July 2018 But the department continued to be rocked by scandals after the deaths of children in the state's care, including a Miami boy who died of appendicitis in 2003 after begging guards for medical help. Carol Marbin Miller, miamiherald, "A painful reunion at school of horror," 11 July 2018 The two men grew estranged over the Lewinsky scandal, so much so that Gore used Clinton sparingly in their respective home states of Tennessee and Arkansas. Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor, "'First In Line' profiles modern vice presidents from Nixon to Pence," 9 July 2018 Raisman, who has spoken out about USA Gymnastics’ failure to account for Nassar, has since filed a lawsuit against the organization over the scandal., "Larry Nassar Charged With Six More Counts Of Sexual Assault In Texas," 1 July 2018 Lyrics from a Drake song slam the former University of Louisville coach for basketball scandals. Taylor Jade Powell,, "Why was Drake pumping gas on a road trip from Cincinnati to Dayton? We have questions.," 29 June 2018 In April, high commissioners from all of the Caribbean Commonwealth nations rebuked the UK government over the scandal, the British home secretary resigned, and the Home Office assembled a Windrush task force. Kaila Philo, The New Republic, "The Caribbean Immigrants Who Transformed Britain," 22 June 2018 Sutherland had previously apologized over the scandal on behalf of the organization to both Australia and South Africa. Bard Wilkinson, CNN, "Cricket Australia chief resigns after 17 years in the job," 6 June 2018 On the heels of Mark Zuckerberg’s numerous government testimonies and sustained criticism over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the author of this Times column must be talking about Facebook—right? Renee Diresta, WIRED, "How the Tech Giants Created What Darpa Couldn’t," 29 May 2018

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

16 Oct 2018

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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 \

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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