dis·​dain | \ dis-ˈdān How to pronounce disdain (audio) \

Essential Meaning of disdain

: a feeling of strong dislike or disapproval of someone or something you think does not deserve respect He glared at the waiter with a look of disdain [=contempt, scorn] on his face. He regarded their proposal with disdain. I have a healthy disdain for companies that mistreat their workers.

Full Definition of disdain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior : scorn


dis·​dain | \ dis-ˈdān How to pronounce disdain (audio) \
disdained; disdaining; disdains

Definition of disdain (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to look on with scorn disdained him as a coward
2 : to refuse or abstain from because of a feeling of contempt or scorn disdained to answer their questions
3 : to treat as beneath one's notice or dignity

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Choose the Right Synonym for disdain


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 disdain in a Sentence

Noun McCarthy's indifference to accolades and his disdain for grandstanding … turned into a disdain even for being understood. — Louis Menand, New Yorker, 5 Apr. 2004 There is fierce disdain within the Pentagon for the passive U.N. peacekeepers who stood by while thousands were murdered in Bosnia's ethnic cleansing. — Joe Klein, Time, 24 Nov. 2003 But for all its playful love of puns and cool disdain for "suits," the high-tech world is, at heart, a cruel, unforgiving place ruled by the merciless dynamics of the marketplace. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 27 June 2002 He regarded their proposal with disdain. I have a healthy disdain for companies that mistreat their workers. Verb The right eyes him [Thomas Jefferson] suspiciously as a limousine Jacobin so enamored of revolution that he once suggested we should have one every 20 years. The left disdains him as your basic race hypocrite. — Charles Krauthammer, Time, 22 May 2000 Only in our last days on the peninsula (the arm of Antarctica that polar scientists disdain as the "Banana Belt") did we see our first frozen sea … — Kate Ford, Wall Street Journal, 12 June 1998 His vehicle would be a form he both enjoyed and disdained—pulp fiction. — Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times Book Review, 20 Sept. 1992 There is also evidence of epic womanizing that Mr. Schickel mentions but loftily announces that he disdains to tell us about. — Camille Paglia, New York Times Book Review, 21 July 1991 They disdained him for being weak. She disdained to answer their questions.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But also, gripes don’t feel gossiped, and discord isn’t sensationalized, even as the band turned its disdain inward, morphed, then disintegrated. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2021 With its disdain for the law and human institutions, crypto strikes at the heart of the market order. Matt Sekerke, National Review, 1 Oct. 2021 But my disdain for the saying is also because of its underlying sentiment. Zak Jason, Wired, 24 Sep. 2021 While many describe Drudge as being fueled by his disdain for the mainstream media, there’s certainly an argument to be made that the fascination goes in both directions. Adrienne Gaffney, Town & Country, 21 Sep. 2021 Clarence Thomas has openly declared his disdain for Roe. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2021 And many in his district aren't hiding their disdain for a water policy that benefits cities. Dan Merica, CNN, 18 Sep. 2021 The singer's been actively working to release re-recordings of her past work since it was revealed, to her very public disdain, that producer Scooter Braun had purchased her masters. Nick Romano, EW.com, 17 Sep. 2021 Senator Mitt Romney, the former 2012 presidential nominee who has made his disdain for Mr. Trump plain, owes him nothing. New York Times, 7 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb All that nitty-gritty is necessary to properly disdain the response of various media outlets to the collapse of the Oklahoma ivermectin story. Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2021 Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness! Jack Butler, National Review, 22 Aug. 2021 Most anglers disdain sheepshead, but if handled properly after they’re caught, the fillets are delicious. cleveland, 2 Sep. 2021 Despite picking up skiing at 29 years old, Mourao fell in love with everything so many of her compatriots disdain. Dave Skretta, Star Tribune, 27 July 2021 Ahuja pledged at her confirmation hearing to rebuild a federal civil service battered during the Trump administration by budget cuts and disdain from many political appointees as a ’'deep state’' of bureaucrats that led to widespread retirements. BostonGlobe.com, 22 June 2021 At the same time, the hints about Asellus' identity could be read completely straight, the attraction to women and disdain for men explained by an infusion of mystic blood. Laine Yuhas, Wired, 4 June 2021 The assertion that the press was too quick to disdain the lab-leak theory because it was touted by ideologically suspect sources — Trump and senators Tom Cotton and Rand Paul, among others — overlooks a few pertinent factors. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2021 If politics is the art of the possible, then there are two kinds of radicals: those who disdain all worldly forms of politics, and those who engage in politics in order to change what’s possible. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 24 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disdain.' 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 disdain


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disdain


Middle English desdeyne, from Anglo-French desdaign, from desdeigner — see disdain entry 2


Middle English desdeynen, from Anglo-French desdeigner, dedeigner, from Vulgar Latin *disdignare, from Latin dis- + dignare to deign — more at deign

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Time Traveler for disdain

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

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disdain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disdain. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for disdain


dis·​dain | \ dis-ˈdān How to pronounce disdain (audio) \

Kids Definition of disdain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of dislike for someone or something considered not good enough She eyed the food with disdain.

Other Words from disdain

disdainful adjective
disdainfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb


disdained; disdaining

Kids Definition of disdain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to feel dislike for something or someone usually for not being good enough He disdained people he felt were weak.
2 : to refuse because of feelings of dislike She disdained to answer.

More from Merriam-Webster on disdain

Nglish: Translation of disdain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disdain for Arabic Speakers


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