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 The phenomenon was short-lived after the rise of catfishing and the infamous Craigslist Killer scandal, as finding love in an online marketplace didn’t allow much room for proper screening. Brianna Holt, Quartzy, "Twitter and Instagram are arguably the best dating apps around," 22 Nov. 2019 And even before the Ukraine scandal surfaced, Swalwell had called for Trump's impeachment for the potential obstruction of justice acts outlined in former special counsel Robert Mueller's report. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Trump tells Fox News not to waste airtime on 'losers' like Rep. Swalwell," 21 Nov. 2019 This is the math that House Republicans have used to defend Trump since the Ukraine scandal was revealed; the sort of math in which two plus two does not equal four. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Ambassador Sondland’s Revenge," 20 Nov. 2019 The Ukraine scandal is mostly viewed through the prism of politics — an attempt by President Donald Trump to gain an advantage over a political opponent. Katie Zavadski, ProPublica, "Follow the Money in the Ukraine Scandal," 13 Nov. 2019 Bolton is a key figure in the Ukraine scandal and other witnesses have said he was deeply angered by Trump's effort to use millions in American defense aid as leverage to bully Ukraine into announcing bogus probes of Democrats. Author: Dave Goldiner, Anchorage Daily News, "John Bolton has $2 million book deal, which could explain his impeachment silence," 10 Nov. 2019 And, like the Ukraine scandal that prompted impeachment proceedings against President Trump, what ProPublica uncovered involves the alleged misuse of U.S. foreign aid. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "How Trump’s foreign policy mixes religion with money," 7 Nov. 2019 His House Intelligence Committee post has given him opportunities for exposure since the early days of the Russian election meddling disclosures and will continue to do so for months with impeachment and the Ukraine scandal simmering. Bill Lambrecht,, "U.S. Rep. Will Hurd is quitting Congress, but not politics," 3 Nov. 2019 In their exhausting task of trying to defend President Donald Trump’s fishy behavior in the Ukraine scandal, Republicans on Capitol Hill have been flailing this way and that, propping up questionable arguments, only to watch them fall like dominoes. Clarence Page,, "Column: Nancy Pelosi gives Republicans the process they asked for on Trump impeachment, and now they’re stuck with it," 30 Oct. 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 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

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Scandal.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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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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