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[dih-test] /dɪˈtɛst/
verb (used with object)
to feel abhorrence of; hate; dislike intensely.
Origin of detest
1525-35; < Middle French detester < Latin dētestārī to call down a curse upon, loathe, equivalent to dē- de- + testārī to bear witness; see testate
Related forms
detester, noun
undetested, adjective
undetesting, adjective
abhor, loathe, abominate, execrate, despise. See hate.
love, like. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for detest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If there's one sort of man I detest more than another, it's a man who is sorry for himself.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Never had it seemed to her possible she could detest him as she did now.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • I detest the reflection that I would have sacrificed your happiness to mine.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • That there are people whom it is necessary to detest without compromise.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • I adore having people come to see me, and I detest going to see them.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
British Dictionary definitions for detest


(transitive) to dislike intensely; loathe
Derived Forms
detester, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dētestārī to curse (while invoking a god as witness), from de- + testārī to bear witness, from testis a witness
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 detest

early 15c., "to curse, to call God to witness and abhor," from Middle French détester, from Latin detestari "to curse, execrate, abominate, express abhorrence for," literally "denounce with one's testimony," from de- "from, down" (see de-) + testari "be a witness," from testis "witness" (see testament). Related: Detested; detesting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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