Synonym Chooser

How does the verb despise differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of despise are contemn, disdain, and scorn. While all these words 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

When can contemn be used instead of despise?

While in some cases nearly identical to despise, contemn implies a vehement condemnation of a person or thing as low, vile, feeble, or ignominious.

contemns the image of women promoted by advertisers

When might disdain be a better fit than despise?

The meanings of disdain and despise largely overlap; however, disdain implies an arrogant or supercilious aversion to what is regarded as unworthy.

disdained popular music

When would scorn be a good substitute for despise?

While the synonyms scorn and despise are close in meaning, scorn implies a ready or indignant contempt.

scorns the very thought of retirement

Thesaurus Entries Near despise

Cite this Entry

“Despise.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on despise

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