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 So far, of the more than 50 defendants charged in connection with the college admissions scandal, more than 40 have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty, according to the US Attorney's Office. Sonia Moghe, CNN, "Billionaire's son indicted in college admissions cheating scandal," 2 Sep. 2020 There was the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, the opening of the World Trade Center, and U.S. involvement in Vietnam was winding down with the Paris Peace Accords. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, "This historic fire lookout has stood near Flagstaff since 1939. Here's how to hike to it," 29 Aug. 2020 Around this time, across the Bay Bridge to the west, the effort to clean up Hunters Point was descending into scandal. Jason Fagone, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Extremely unlikely that they will find anything’," 28 Aug. 2020 Given the scandal and the large number of COVID-19 deaths, council member Michael-Paul Hart, R-District 18, asked Sellers if HHC planned to continue using the company. Tony Cook, The Indianapolis Star, "HHC officials defend nursing home practices to a skeptical council committee," 28 Aug. 2020 Britain’s scandal surrounding high-school exams is one of the most interesting of the many confusing coronavirus stories out there. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "A Coronavirus Lesson About the Modern State," 27 Aug. 2020 Bill Clinton invited scandal by using the Lincoln Bedroom to lure donors. TheWeek, "Trump adviser Larry Kudlow is referring to the still raging coronavirus pandemic in the past tense," 26 Aug. 2020 Despite the occasional cryptic message, the Full House cast has stayed rather quiet about Lori's scandal. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Candace Cameron Bure Posts a Cryptic Message Following Lori Loughlin's Sentencing," 24 Aug. 2020 Although the talk show is not likely to be in danger of cancellation, nor is DeGeneres likely to step away just yet, there is a question of whether this scandal will affect viewership. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Ellen DeGeneres: Have toxic workplace claims and quarantine struggles caused fans to flee?," 21 Aug. 2020 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 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for scandal

Last Updated

7 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scandal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for scandal


How to pronounce scandal (audio)

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

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