vil·​i·​pend ˈvi-lə-ˌpend How to pronounce vilipend (audio)
vilipended; vilipending; vilipends

transitive verb

: to hold or treat as of little worth or account : contemn
: to express a low opinion of : disparage

Did you know?

Vilipend first appeared in English in the 15th century and had its heyday during the 19th century—being found in the works of such well-known authors as Sir Walter Scott, William Makepeace Thackeray, and George Meredith—but it fell into relative obscurity by the 20th century. The word comes to us through French from the Latin roots vilis, meaning "cheap" or "vile," and pendere, meaning "to weigh" or "to estimate." These roots work in tandem to form a meaning of "to deem to be of little worth." Each has contributed separately to some other common English words. Other vilis offspring include vile and vilify, while pendere has spawned such terms as append, expend, and dispense.

Examples of vilipend in a Sentence

one of those elitists who regularly vilipends popular culture

Word History


Middle English, from Middle French vilipender, from Medieval Latin vilipendere, from Latin vilis + pendere to weigh, estimate

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vilipend was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near vilipend

Cite this Entry

“Vilipend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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