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[skawrn] /skɔrn/
open or unqualified contempt; disdain:
His face and attitude showed the scorn he felt.
an object of derision or contempt.
a derisive or contemptuous action or speech.
verb (used with object)
to treat or regard with contempt or disdain:
They scorned the old beggar.
to reject, refuse, or ignore with contempt or disdain:
She scorned my help.
verb (used without object)
to mock; jeer.
laugh to scorn, to ridicule; deride:
Her good advice was laughed to scorn.
Origin of scorn
1150-1200; (noun) Middle English scorn, scarn < Old French escarn < Germanic (compare obsolete Dutch schern mockery, trickery); (v.) Middle English skarnen, sc(h)ornen < Old French escharnir, eschernirGermanic
Related forms
scorner, noun
scorningly, adverb
outscorn, verb (used with object)
self-scorn, noun
unscorned, adjective
1. contumely. 4. disdain, contemn, despise, detest.
3. praise.
Synonym Study
1. See contempt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scorning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Shakespeare is perfectly willing to depict Hotspur as scorning the arts.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • Yet perhaps he is only some false flatterer who is scorning us all the time.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • "No, I wasn't listening," said Cecily, scorning apology or excuse.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • Unkind Hermia, to join with men in scorning your poor friend.

    Tales from Shakespeare Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb
  • "Don't want any 'tato," objected Janie, scorning the proffered dish.

    Tabitha's Vacation

    Ruth Alberta Brown
  • Adine had ceased her scorning tones; now she was asking for an answer.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
  • This, then, is the wisdom you have gained by scorning the mysteries of the Church?

    Romola George Eliot
  • "We are in for it now," she went on, scorning the compliment.

    The Art of Disappearing John Talbot Smith
  • scorning them all, he fully intended to get the better of them yet.

    The Huntress Hulbert Footner
British Dictionary definitions for scorning


open contempt or disdain for a person or thing; derision
an object of contempt or derision
(archaic) an act or expression signifying contempt
to treat with contempt or derision
(transitive) to reject with contempt
Derived Forms
scorner, noun
scornful, adjective
scornfully, adverb
scornfulness, noun
Word Origin
C12 schornen, from Old French escharnir, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German scerōn to behave rowdily, obsolete Dutch schern mockery
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 scorning



c.1200, a shortening of Old French escarn "mockery, derision, contempt," a common Romanic word (cf. Spanish escarnio, Italian scherno) of Germanic origin, from Proto-Germanic *skarnjan "mock, deride" (cf. Old High German skern "mockery, jest, sport," Middle High German scherzen "to jump with joy").

Probably influenced by Old French escorne "affront, disgrace," which is a back-formation from escorner, literally "to break off (someone's) horns," from Vulgar Latin *excornare (source of Italian scornare "treat with contempt"), from Latin ex- "without" (see ex-) + cornu "horn" (see horn (n.)).



c.1200, from Anglo-French, Old North French escarnir (Old French escharnir), from the source of scorn (n.). Cf. Old High German skernon, Middle Dutch schernen. Related: Scorned; scorning. Forms in Romanic languages influenced by confusion with Old French escorner "deprive of horns," hence "deprive of honor or ornament, disgrace."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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