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[dih-rahy-siv, -ris-iv] /dɪˈraɪ sɪv, -ˈrɪs ɪv/
characterized by or expressing derision; contemptuous; mocking:
derisive heckling.
Also, derisory
[dih-rahy-suh-ree, -zuh-] /dɪˈraɪ sə ri, -zə-/ (Show IPA)
Origin of derisive
1655-65; deris(ion) + -ive
Related forms
derisively, adverb
derisiveness, noun
nonderisive, adjective
overderisive, adjective
overderisively, adverb
overderisiveness, noun
underisive, adjective
underisively, adverb
underisiveness, noun
underisory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for derisive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Margaret affected a derisive laugh, as at her brother's pretensions to wisdom.

    Philip Winwood Robert Neilson Stephens
  • A laugh, derisive but not discourteous to himself, greeted the question.

    The Sign of the Spider Bertram Mitford
  • The frankness of such a secretly outspoken thought could not go without some derisive self-criticism.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • They flushed, however, when she burst into a shout of derisive laughter.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham
  • Mr. Hardman, not enjoying the derisive raillery, took a hand in the game.

    Bucky O'Connor William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for derisive


/dɪˈraɪsɪv; -zɪv/
showing or characterized by derision; mocking; scornful
Derived Forms
derisively, adverb
derisiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for derisive

1620s, "characterized by derision," from Latin deris-, past participle stem of deridere (see derision) + -ive. Meaning "ridiculous" is from 1896. Related: Derisively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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