1 of 2


: open dislike and disrespect or mockery often mixed with indignation
: an expression of contempt or derision
: an object of extreme disdain, contempt, or derision : something contemptible


2 of 2


scorned; scorning; scorns

transitive verb

: to treat with scorn : reject or dismiss as contemptible or unworthy
scorned local traditions
scorned to reply to the charge

intransitive verb

: to show disdain or derision : scoff
scorner noun
Choose the Right Synonym for scorn

despise, contemn, scorn, disdain mean to regard as unworthy of one's notice or consideration.

despise may suggest an emotional response ranging from strong dislike to loathing.

despises cowards

contemn implies a vehement condemnation of a person or thing as low, vile, feeble, or ignominious.

contemns the image of women promoted by advertisers

scorn implies a ready or indignant contempt.

scorns the very thought of retirement

disdain implies an arrogant or supercilious aversion to what is regarded as unworthy.

disdained popular music

Examples of scorn in a Sentence

Noun Unlike government censorship, this corruption eats at one of China's more beleaguered professions from within its ranks. The trading of favors for cash is so prevalent that, like the honest cop in a corrupt police unit, an ethical journalist risks the scorn of colleagues. Gady A. Epstein, Forbes, 21 July 2008
He burns with generous indignation at the scorn with which many literary critics have treated Tolkien, and his subtitle, "author of the Century," is meant to provoke. But provocation is only one of his purposes. Richard Jenkyns, New Republic, 28 Jan. 2002
Claiming their inalienable rights as teenagers, the two exercise an unmitigated scorn for all adults in the immediate vicinity … B. Ruby Rich, Nation, 3 & 10 Sept. 2001
They treated his suggestion with scorn. an expression full of scorn Her political rivals have poured scorn on her ideas for improving the tax system. Verb My parents scorned packaged and ready-made foods. It did not matter that, at the time, our hometown was a test-market capital for these sorts of food products; my father still thought that convenience food was a Communist plot, and my mother insisted that only trashy people failed to practice a separation of food groups. Molly O'Neill, Vogue, January 2007
A union member and activist since age 15, bound for an academic career at Cornell and NYU, Fitch, now past 65, writes like a lover scorned. Rob Long, National Review, 13 Feb. 2006
Stung by attacks on his new Excursion—a 12.5-m.p.g. guzzler dubbed "Ford Valdez" by critics—he has expressed fears that auto companies could be scorned like tobacco companies if they don't clean up their act. Similarly, GM has sought to position itself as the greenest car company, beginning in 1996 when it launched the nation's first modern, mass-produced electric car, the EV-1. Margot Roosevelt, Time, 14 Aug. 2000
He scorns anyone who earns less money than he does. Her actions were scorned by many people. They were scorned as fanatics. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Trending The Fake Sheikh could have played all of this with a nod and a wink, or for maximum scorn. Chris Vognar, Rolling Stone, 25 Sep. 2023 The whole Gannett chain, including Columbus dispatch, the object of universal scorn because the AI could not write good prose. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 1 Sep. 2023 Libs of TikTok has a history of amplifying and framing social media posts by LGBTQ+ creators, particularly for right-wing scorn. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 In 2021, the Alabama native’s move to require stringent COVID countermeasures at his shows led to a terse exchange with fellow songwriter Marc Broussard, who accused Isbell of being an elitist and who drew Isbell’s scorn for being a fool. Ben Flanagan |, al, 20 July 2023 Her parent guide, which had drawn the scorn of Libs of TikTok, had been taken down months earlier. Greg Jaffe and Patrick Marley, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Aug. 2023 Meir held that position until 1974, earning the praise and admiration of her people in the first years of her term and their scorn in the final ones. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Aug. 2023 His commitment to ignoring the Mayor’s sneakers was impressive, but so was Adams’s equanimity in the face of this scorn. Ian Parker, The New Yorker, 7 Aug. 2023 Her attempts to advocate for herself were often met with scorn and derision by the very institutions who kept her in check. Clifford Ward, Chicago Tribune, 28 Apr. 2023
This pugnacious attitude has led the rest of the crypto industry, which once scorned Ripple for being overly corporate, to embrace the company as a champion in the fight against a common enemy. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto, 21 Sep. 2023 To do so was to risk almost certain death or, at the least, scorn from our neighbors. David Holloway, al, 6 Sep. 2023 The buoys have drawn international condemnation, and scorn from congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden. Aarón Torres, Dallas News, 7 Sep. 2023 Holmes recalls her expressing appreciation for the movie, which documented how she was scorned and practically blacklisted after speaking her mind about the Catholic Church and other issues. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 28 July 2023 Russia and North Korea have both denied any deal to transfer arms, but the two countries have had a close relationship dating to the Cold War and have made no secret of their growing military collaboration in the face of Western sanctions and scorn. Abigail Williams, NBC News, 31 Aug. 2023 Some touted Medicare Advantage plans; others scorned them. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2023 Long before his invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Putin had scorned the idea of gay rights. Georgy Birger, New York Times, 1 Aug. 2023 Next week’s official celebration of nationhood will be haunted by the protests of citizens who feel scorned by the nation they were born in. Robert Zaretsky, WSJ, 8 July 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French escharne, escar, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German scern jest

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near scorn

Cite this Entry

“Scorn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a feeling of anger and disgust
: someone or something very much disliked


2 of 2 verb
: to show scorn for
: to reject or dismiss because of scorn : disdain
scorned local traditions
scorner noun

More from Merriam-Webster on scorn

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!