Synonym Chooser

How is the word despicable different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of despicable are contemptible, pitiable, scurvy, and sorry. While all these words mean "arousing or deserving scorn," despicable may imply utter worthlessness and usually suggests arousing an attitude of moral indignation.

a despicable crime

When can contemptible be used instead of despicable?

The meanings of contemptible and despicable largely overlap; however, contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of values.

a contemptible liar

Where would pitiable be a reasonable alternative to despicable?

The words pitiable and despicable are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, pitiable applies to what inspires mixed contempt and pity.

a pitiable attempt at tragedy

How do scurvy and despicable relate to one another?

Scurvy adds to despicable an implication of arousing disgust.

a scurvy crew of hangers-on

When might sorry be a better fit than despicable?

The synonyms sorry and despicable are sometimes interchangeable, but sorry may stress pitiable inadequacy or may suggest wretchedness or sordidness.

this rattletrap is a sorry excuse for a car

Thesaurus Entries Near despicable

Cite this Entry

“Despicable.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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