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  1. in spite of; notwithstanding.
  1. contemptuous treatment; insult.
  2. malice, hatred, or spite.
verb (used with object), de·spit·ed, de·spit·ing.
  1. Obsolete. to anger or annoy (someone) out of spite.
  1. in despite of, in spite of; notwithstanding: He was tolerant in despite of his background and education.

Origin of despite

1250–1300; orig. in despite of; Middle English despit < Old French < Latin dēspectus view from a height, scorn, equivalent to dēspec-, variant stem of dēspicere (see despicable) + -tus suffix of v. action


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for despites


  1. in spite of; undeterred by
  1. archaic contempt; insult
  2. in despite of (preposition) rare in spite of
  1. (tr) an archaic word for spite

Word Origin

C13: from Old French despit, from Latin dēspectus contempt; see 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

Word Origin and History for despites


c.1300, originally a noun, from Old French despit (12c., Modern French dépit), from Latin despectus "a looking down on, scorn, contempt," from past participle of despicere (see despise).

The preposition (early 15c.) is short for in despite of (late 13c.), a loan-translation of Old French en despit de "in contempt of." Almost became despight during 16c. spelling reform.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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