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

Example Sentences

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
Becoming the subject of national scorn practically overnight, country radio stations ceased playing their music and former fans destroyed CDs in the street. Sydney Urbanek, Billboard, 11 Apr. 2023 Experts say one of the most harmful aspects of the public's scorn is the underlying assumption that character flaws make Heard undeserving of empathy. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, 10 May 2022 The rulings — lengthy and full of rhetorical flourishes — demolished large chunks of the state’s gun-regulation scheme and earned Benitez the admiration of Second Amendment supporters and the scorn of gun-safety advocates. Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 May 2023 The network has, unsurprisingly, been an antagonist for the party more or less since its inception—by the mid-’90s the cable news network had replaced Rush Limbaugh as the focal point of liberal scorn. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 3 Mar. 2023 Netflix debut was met with scorn from critics and audiences alike. Vulture, 7 Oct. 2022 Choose something else from the long list of more worthy candidates of scorn. David G. Allan, CNN, 2 May 2023 Both groups are close to or involved with some of the same senators and House members, and both certainly have suffered their share of scorn from groups to their left. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 14 Apr. 2023 Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and the other Gilded Age industrialists who shaped the modern industry faced plenty of scorn in their day for the sometimes-brutal business practices that filled their philanthropic coffers. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 15 Dec. 2022
Thucydides hinted at it disapprovingly, Dickens scorned the payee more than the payer, Dostoyevsky viewed it as a transaction on the road to Hell. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2023 The oil industry has pushed back, paying for a wave of digital ads that have labeled any potential penalty as a tax — an idea more likely to be scorned by voters. Adam Beam,, 23 Mar. 2023 They are suspended, elongated, twisted and knotted, taking an object that was created to reshape women’s bodies to comport with expectations and turning it on its head, gesturing to the saggy, bloated and bulging bits of the body that so many have been conditioned to scorn. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2022 Many bankers can remember the public scorn their bonuses attracted at the time of the 2008 financial crisis. Ollie A Williams, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 A lot of us on the right like to scorn, mock, and dump on government, for plenty of good reasons. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 14 June 2021 Step 3: Hope to be condemned by major news media outlets or scorned by elites in Hollywood or university faculty lounges. Justin Sayfie, CNN, 2 Mar. 2023 After a gang of ne’er-do-wells retaliated to Claire’s scorn by shooting several members of the wagon train, including Mary Abel, Claire died by suicide beside her daughter’s grave. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 14 Nov. 2022 More than 250 miles north of San Francisco, Siskiyou County is still a place where residents scorn the state’s Democratic leadership. Kellen Browning, New York Times, 7 Oct. 2022 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 6 Jun. 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

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