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[dih-tes-tuh-buh l] /dɪˈtɛs tə bəl/
deserving to be detested; abominable; hateful.
Origin of detestable
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin dētestābilis, equivalent to dētest(ārī) to detest + -ābilis -able
Related forms
detestability, detestableness, noun
detestably, adverb
undetestability, noun
undetestable, adjective
undetestableness, noun
undetestably, adverb
execrable, abhorrent, loathsome, odious, vile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for detestable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am of opinion that pumping a leaky ship is the most detestable work in the world.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The man must have been a detestable hypocrite, I think, had he not shown his vexation.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Kill me if thou wilt, detestable Huron; I will go no further.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • The rest of this detestable thought was expressed by a hideous smile.

    The Black Tulip Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • Wretch that I was to harbour that detestable idea for a moment!

  • She was blameless, of course, but he was detestable beyond all count.

  • No; these telegraph poles are ugly and detestable, they are inhuman and indecent.

    Alarms and Discursions G. K. Chesterton
  • They are a detestable persecution when a minority promotes them.

British Dictionary definitions for detestable


being or deserving to be abhorred or detested; abominable; odious
Derived Forms
detestability, detestableness, noun
detestably, adverb
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 detestable

early 15c., from Middle French détestable (14c.), from Latin detestabilis "execrable, abominable," from detestari (see detest). Related: Detestably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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