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[des-pi-kuh-buh l, dih-spik-uh-] /ˈdɛs pɪ kə bəl, dɪˈspɪk ə-/
deserving to be despised, or regarded with distaste, disgust, or disdain; contemptible:
He was a mean, despicable man, who treated his wife and children badly.
Origin of despicable
1545-55; < Late Latin dēspicābilis, equivalent to Latin dēspic(ārī) to despise or dēspic(ere) to look down (dē- de- + -spic- look, combining form of specere) + -ābilis -able
Related forms
despicability, despicableness, noun
despicably, adverb
vile, mean, detestable.
admirable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for despicable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But side by side with these despicable men what heroism we saw!

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • She had just done a thing that was mean, or at least she had done a thing from a mean, a despicable motive.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • But despicable as his conduct had been, he underwent no hasty condemnation.

    The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
  • The despicable methods he was adopting troubled him not in the least.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • I w-wouldn't have believed that anyone would be so despicable!

    Mary Rose of Mifflin

    Frances R. Sterrett
British Dictionary definitions for despicable


/dɪˈspɪkəbəl; ˈdɛspɪk-/
worthy of being despised; contemptible; mean
Derived Forms
despicability, despicableness, noun
despicably, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin dēspicābilis, from dēspicārī to disdain; compare despise
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 despicable

1550s, from Late Latin despicabilis, from Latin despicari "despise, disdain, look down on," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicare, variant of specere "to look" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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