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scan·​dal ˈskan-dᵊl How to pronounce scandal (audio)
: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
: a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality
a scandal to the profession
: loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety : disgrace
: malicious or defamatory gossip
: indignation, chagrin, or bewilderment brought about by a flagrant violation of morality, propriety, or religious opinion
: discredit brought upon religion by unseemly conduct in a religious person
: conduct that causes or encourages a lapse of faith or of religious obedience in another


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scandaled; scandaling; scandals

transitive verb

chiefly dialectal : defame, slander
obsolete : disgrace
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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Periodic scandals drew public outrage and fueled reform movements. TIME, 14 May 2024 Giudice and her friend and castmate Jennifer Aydin are also currently at the center of a social media scandal after a user called MelissasOldNose claimed that the pair asked her and other accounts to dig up dirt and expose Gorga and their castmates. Esme Mazzeo, Peoplemag, 12 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for scandal 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scandal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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, in the meaning defined at sense 5a


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near scandal

Cite this Entry

“Scandal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a crime against faith that causes another to sin
: loss of or damage to one's reputation : disgrace
brought scandal on the school
: something that offends accepted moral standards or disgraces those associated with it
their behavior is a scandal

More from Merriam-Webster on scandal

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