de·​spise | \ di-ˈspīz How to pronounce despise (audio) \
despised; despising

Essential Meaning of despise

: to dislike (something or someone) very much He despises [=hates, loathes] pop music. Although despised [=scorned, disdained] by critics, the movie attracted a wide audience. She was despised as a hypocrite.

Full Definition of despise

transitive verb

1 : to look down on with disrespect or aversion despised the weak
2 : to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful despises organized religion

Other Words from despise

despisement \ di-​ˈspīz-​mənt How to pronounce despise (audio) \ noun
despiser \ di-​ˈspī-​zər How to pronounce despise (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for despise



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Choose the Right Synonym for despise

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 despise in a Sentence

He and Julie grooved to Cuban son and jazz on NPR and loved arty films, for instance; and they distrusted big business and despised tract houses, malls, and other aesthetically unpleasing byproducts of a consumer society. — Brian C. Anderson, National Review, 13 Mar. 2006 She was despised as a hypocrite. I despise anchovies on pizza, and I refuse to eat them!
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Recent Examples on the Web But what happens when conservatives come to despise pretty much everything about the world around them? Damon Linker, The Week, 15 July 2021 The film also does a good job explaining why some jazz critics despise him. John Blake, CNN, 5 Dec. 2021 The saying is spreading quickly, especially among conservatives who despise Joe Biden. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 2 Nov. 2021 Americans despise high gas prices, and -- fair or not -- tend to blame them on whoever is in the White House. Matt Egan, CNN, 19 Oct. 2021 Meehan was precisely the kind of guy his parents would despise. Longreads, 12 Aug. 2021 Gossip, the church leaders reiterated, was something to despise. Kelsey Mckinney, Star Tribune, 16 July 2021 Oh boy, the Manifest people are going to absolutely despise this news. Andy Meek, BGR, 14 July 2021 The lesson: Building a new road won't build a new bridge to reluctant White voters who despise Blacks. John Blake, CNN, 1 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'despise.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of despise

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for despise

Middle English, from Anglo-French despis-, stem of despire, from Latin despicere, from de- + specere to look — more at spy

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Time Traveler for despise

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The first known use of despise was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Despise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for despise


de·​spise | \ di-ˈspīz How to pronounce despise (audio) \
despised; despising

Kids Definition of despise

: to feel scorn and dislike for

Choose the Right Synonym for despise

despise and scorn mean to consider a person or thing as not worth noticing or taking an interest in. despise may be used of feeling ranging from strong dislike to true hatred. I despise liars. scorn is used of a deep and ready feeling of angry disgust for anything that a person doesn't respect. The sergeant scorned the soldiers who were lazy.

More from Merriam-Webster on despise

Nglish: Translation of despise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of despise for Arabic Speakers


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