Alternative formsEdit


From Old French despit, from Latin dēspectum (looking down on), from dēspiciō (to look down, despise).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈspaɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪt



  1. In spite of, notwithstanding.




despite (countable and uncountable, plural despites)

  1. (obsolete) Disdain, contemptuous feelings, hatred.
  2. (archaic) Action or behaviour displaying such feelings; an outrage, insult.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, “iiij”, in Le Morte Darthur, book II:
      he aſked kynge Arthur yf he wold gyue hym leue to ryde after Balen and to reuenge the deſpyte that he had done
      Doo your beſt ſaid Arthur I am right wroth ſaid Balen I wold he were quyte of the deſpyte that he hath done to me and to my Courte
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VI”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      a deſpite done againſt the Moſt High
  3. Evil feeling; malice, spite, annoyance.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), OCLC 630079698, page 3:
      How often am I obliged to speak mal à propos, because my features are not sufficiently charming in a state of repose!—how often is my ingenuity racked to find a word, when a look would have been far better! I am compelled to be amusing, in my own despite.
    • 1874, translated by Richard Crawley, Thucydides The Peloponnesian War:
      And for these Corcyraeans—neither receive them into alliance in our despite, nor be their abettors in crime.

Derived termsEdit


despite (third-person singular simple present despites, present participle despiting, simple past and past participle despited)

  1. (obsolete) To vex; to annoy; to offend contemptuously.


  • despite at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • despite in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911