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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
First recorded in 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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for derisory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is a contemptible and derisory gift for luck, like vituperative outcries.


    William Graham Sumner
  • The term astrology had none of the unfortunate or derisory signification that it has at the present time.

    The Popes and Science James J. Walsh
  • The slightest glance of amused and derisory intelligence passed between them as the Complete Sportsman plunged into the game.

  • "Come and shew yer ticket o' leave," urged Culling with derisory finger outstretched to indicate the forces of law and order.

    The Sixth Sense

    Stephen McKenna
  • There are no longer insinuating and derisory shakings of the head in the presence of his works.

    Puvis de Chavannes Francois Crastre
  • Emitting a long streamer of smoke, he summed up the whole thing in a nutshell with a derisory—Pouf!

    Villa Elsa Stuart Henry
  • Steno was accused before the Quarantia and let off with a punishment which the Doge regarded as derisory.

    Venice and its Story Thomas Okey
  • She gave him a derisory little nod—and in a minute was well up the lawn, towards the castle.

    The Cardinal's Snuff-Box Henry Harland
British Dictionary definitions for derisory


/dɪˈraɪsərɪ; -zərɪ/
subject to or worthy of derision, esp because of being ridiculously small or inadequate
another word 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 derisory

1610s, from Latin derisorius, from derisor "derider," agent noun from deridere (see deride).



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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