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.
Recent Examples on the Web
But Robert Zemeckis’ Best Picture winner also endures as an object of scorn for cinephiles (and the extremely online). Ciara Moloney, IndieWire, 4 July 2024 Nobody seemed to regard the idea as brilliant, and in general responses ranged from grudging acceptance to shocked scorn. Eric Gordy, Foreign Affairs, 10 Oct. 2018
Her work, though not always appreciated by critics, who sometimes scorned it for being out of step with artistic trends, gained her a cult following that has in recent years grown much wider. Alex Greenberger,, 1 July 2024 Asking Eric: What’s a sassy comeback to people who scorn me for not working? R. Eric Thomas, The Mercury News, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for scorn 

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 13 Jul. 2024.

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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