[dih-rahy-siv, -ris-iv]


characterized by or expressing derision; contemptuous; mocking: derisive heckling.

Also de·ri·so·ry [dih-rahy-suh-ree, -zuh-] /dɪˈraɪ sə ri, -zə-/.

Origin of derisive

First recorded in 1655–65; deris(ion) + -ive
Related formsde·ri·sive·ly, adverbde·ri·sive·ness, nounnon·de·ri·sive, adjectiveo·ver·de·ri·sive, adjectiveo·ver·de·ri·sive·ly, adverbo·ver·de·ri·sive·ness, nounun·de·ri·sive, adjectiveun·de·ri·sive·ly, adverbun·de·ri·sive·ness, nounun·de·ri·so·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for derisive

Contemporary Examples of derisive

Historical Examples of derisive

  • There were those in the valley who viewed the Sabbath calm with a derisive smile.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • They regarded him and his wife with derisive pity, tinged with anger.


    Emile Zola

  • The point was treated with contempt and some derisive laughter.

  • As he did so, from the path above him came a derisive laugh which set his blood boiling.


    Eliot H. Robinson

  • But there is no spur so galling as the derisive smile of a comely young woman.

    Bloom of Cactus

    Robert Ames Bennet

British Dictionary definitions for derisive



showing or characterized by derision; mocking; scornful
Derived Formsderisively, adverbderisiveness, noun
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 derisive

1620s, "characterized by derision," from Latin deris-, past participle stem of deridere (see derision) + -ive. Meaning "ridiculous" is from 1896. Related: Derisively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper