The Meaning of Disdain: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of disdain? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word disdain, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word disdain mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary (Unabridged) and the American Heritage 21st century Dictionary of the English Language, the word disdain is a verb or a noun that means to reject, show a lack of respect, haughty contempt, feeling of dislike, or feeling of scorn toward. This show of superiority can come from a feeling of strong dislike, haughtiness, or disapproval. One can add the suffix ing to form the present tense progressing disdaining. The word disdain is two syllables –  dis-dain – and the pronunciation of disdain is dɪsdeɪn.

Many different languages also contain words that mean disdain. You may notice that in this list of translations of disdain from Word Sense, some of these words and phrases look and sound a lot like the word disdain. These are called cognates, which is when translations look similar, sound similar, and mean something similar. These are usually formed when words have the same root or language of origin. You can also find translations in a Spanish dictionary, German dictionary, Italian dictionary 1st edition, or French electronic resource in any edition – 12th, edition, 5th edition, any!

  •  Mandarin: 鄙棄‎ (bǐqì), 不屑‎ (bùxiè), 蔑視‎, 蔑视‎ (mièshì)
  •  Czech: pohrdání‎ (neut.), opovržení‎ (neut.), despekt‎ (masc.)
  •  French: dédain‎ (masc.), mépris‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Verachtung‎ (fem.), Geringschätzung‎ (fem.) (disrespect), Missachtung‎ (fem.) (contempt)
  •  Latin: despectio‎
  •  Russian: презре́ние‎ (neut.), пренебреже́ние‎ (neut.)
  •  Roman: prezir‎ (masc.), prijezir‎ (masc.)
  •  Romanian: desconsiderare‎ (fem.), dispreț‎ (neut.)
  •  Swedish: förakt‎
  •  Nynorsk: forakt‎ (fem.)
  •  Cyrillic: презир‎ (masc.), пријезир‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: halveksunta‎ (contempt), väheksyntä‎ (belittling)
  •  Japanese: 唾棄‎ (daki), 軽蔑‎ (keibetsu), 軽侮‎ (keibu), 侮蔑‎ (bubetsu)
  •  Hebrew: בוז‎ (buz)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: tàire‎ (fem.), dìmeas‎ (fem.)
  •  Bokmål: forakt‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: pogarda‎ (fem.)
  •  Spanish: desdén‎ (masc.), desprecio‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: ongenoegen‎, verachting‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: sdegno‎ (masc.), disdegno‎ (masc.), disprezzo‎ (masc.)
  •  Danish: despekt‎, foragt‎
  •  Portuguese: desdém‎ (masc.), desprezo‎ (masc.)
  •  Armenian: արհամարհանք‎, քամահրանք‎, գոռոզություն‎
  •  Bulgarian: презрение‎ (neut.), пренебрежение‎ (neut.)

Can you figure out what languages the below words and phrases are in and what they mean?

Forakt despreciar algo omalovažavanje lenézés penghinaan disprezzo 軽蔑 경멸 멸시 panieka nicināšana nicinājums memandang hina würde halten finde desdeñar eneseväärikust alandavaks การดูถูกเหยียดหยาม hor görme küçümseme 輕蔑 зневажання זלזול अवहेलना prijezir إزْدِراء nie raczyć verag verschmähen desconsidera презирать pohŕdať omalovaževati omalovažavati förakta απαξιώνω σνομπάρω hogy zrobić ignominy

What is the origin of the word disdain?

According to Etymonline, the word disdain has been used since the 14c Middle English disdeinen and comes from the Old French de deigner and desdeigner/disdignāre. This comes from the Vulgar Latin dēdignārī, Latin dignus, and disdegno, from dē in Indo-European roots.

How can the word disdain be used in a sentence?

There are many an example of disdain that can be used in sentences. Looking at example sentences is a great way to add words to your vocabulary. You can also try making flashcards and quizzes for yourself to test your own knowledge. See if you can use this word of the day in a sentence today! You never know, it could become one of your new favorite words. Below are several examples of the word disdain to help get you started.

William Congreve was a hack who gave a look of disdain to everyone he came across – his new neighbor, a student at Princeton University, politicians, his fans, and even outsiders. He felt this was the way of the world, and everyone deserved to be a recipient of his aloof contempt and little scorn, despite his luck throughout his life.

Sam showed disdain toward those he considered performing sin. He thought the base acts were a disgrace that ruined the dignity of one’s own character.

The hiker had little disdain for the newbies to the hike trail, but he did lob an insult or two at the people who blocked the trail for running by the entrance to the country clubs. It did not even register to them that they were blocking the way.

Marathi loved Mexican food, but her husband had a disdain for it.

What are synonyms and antonyms of disdain?

There are many different disdain synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same meaning or definition as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself in written and spoken English. This list of synonyms of disdain is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  reject
  •  contempt
  •  ridicule
  •  disparagement
  •  loftiness
  •  cold-shoulder
  •  pay no attention to
  •  condescension
  •  dismiss
  •  hate
  •  sneer
  •  freeze off
  •  spurn
  •  patronage
  •  repudiate
  •  disregard
  •  slight
  •  contemptuousness
  •  flout
  •  pooh-pooh
  •  contumely
  •  give someone the cold shoulder
  •  rebuff
  •  despise
  •  derision
  •  pay no heed to
  •  neglect
  •  haughtiness
  •  brush aside
  •  contemn
  •  despite
  •  antipathy
  •  insult
  •  ignore
  •  deride
  •  snub
  •  arrogance
  •  aloofness
  •  turn down
  •  scorn
  •  abhor
  •  pooh-pooh 
  •  disparage
  •  overlook
  •  superciliousness
  •  refuse entrance
  •  dislike
  •  shun
  •  look down on
  •  disrespect
  •  decline
  •  hauteur
  •  detest
  •  refuse

There are also numerous words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word disdain. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is useful for expanding your English language vocabulary in a quick and easy way. This list of antonyms for the word disdain is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  cherish
  •  esteem
  •  bring attention to
  •  extreme devotion
  •  consideration
  •  adore
  •  veneration
  •  approve
  •  adoration
  •  highlight
  •  modesty
  •  greed
  •  spotlight
  •  approval
  •  like
  •  favour
  •  admire
  •  love
  •  take a role in
  •  worship
  •  favor
  •  respect
  •  prioritize
  •  act
  •  compassion
  •  focus
  •  affection
  •  reverence
  •  sympathy
  •  estimation
  •  scrutinise
  •  choose
  •  draw attention to
  •  praise
  •  emphasise
  •  appreciation
  •  humility
  •  appreciate
  •  benevolence
  •  regard
  •  put first
  •  consider
  •  admiration
  •  prioritise
  •  deference
  •  call attention to
  •  scrutinize
  •  liking
  •  place emphasis
  •  desire

Overall, the word disdain (disˈdein) is a noun and verb that describes a feeling of intense dislike, indifference, or a show of contempt or contemptuous anger, or to show unwillingness to work with someone. This word is of Latin and French origin.


  1. Disdain definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. disdain: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Disdain synonyms – 1 961 Words and Phrases for Disdain | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Disdain antonyms – 2 259 Opposites of Disdain | Power Thesaurus 
  5. disdain | Origin and meaning of disdain | Online Etymology Dictionary