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From Old French desdeignier (modern French dédaigner).


  • enPR: dĭs-dān', IPA(key): /dɪsˈdeɪn/
  • Rhymes: -eɪn
  • (file)


disdain (uncountable)

  1. (uncountable) A feeling of contempt or scorn.
    The cat viewed the cheap supermarket catfood with disdain and stalked away.
    • 2018 June 24, Sam Wallace, "Harry Kane scores hat-trick as England hit Panama for six to secure World Cup knock-out qualification," Telegraph (UK) (retrieved 24 June 2018):
      Everything that could go right for England did although they never felt lucky and they chuckled at Kane’s third that ricocheted off his heel while he was looking the other way. Somewhere in the Moscow outskirts one could only guess at the grand disdain Cristiano Ronaldo will have felt at being supplanted as the tournament’s top scorer in that manner.
    • William Shakespeare, Much ado about Nothing:
      Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes.
  2. (obsolete) That which is worthy to be disdained or regarded with contempt and aversion.
    • Spenser
      Most loathsome, filthy, foul, and full of vile disdain.
  3. (obsolete) The state of being despised; shame.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)



Derived termsEdit



disdain (third-person singular simple present disdains, present participle disdaining, simple past and past participle disdained)

  1. (transitive) To regard (someone or something) with strong contempt.
    • Bible, 1 Sam. xvii. 42
      When the Philistine [] saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth.
    • The Qur'an, trans. Edward Henry Palmer, 1880, Women, verse 170
      The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is but the apostle of God and His Word, […] The Messiah doth surely not disdain to be a servant of God, nor do the angels who are nigh to Him ; and whosoever disdains His service and is too proud, He will gather them altogether to Himself. But as for those who believe and do what is right, He will pay their hire and will give increase to them of His grace. But as for those who disdain and are too proud, He will punish them with a grievous woe, and they shall not find for them other than God a patron or a help.
    • 2012 November 7, Matt Bai, “Winning a Second Term, Obama Will Confront Familiar Headwinds”, in New York Times[1]:
      The country’s first black president, and its first president to reach adulthood after the Vietnam War and Watergate, Mr. Obama seemed like a digital-age leader who could at last dislodge the stalemate between those who clung to the government of the Great Society, on the one hand, and those who disdained the very idea of government, on the other.
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To be indignant or offended.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew XXI:
      When the chefe prestes and scribes sawe, the marveylles that he dyd [...], they desdayned, and sayde unto hym: hearest thou what these saye?