[des-pi-kuh-buhl, dih-spik-uh-]


deserving to be despised, or regarded with distaste, disgust, or disdain; contemptible: He was a mean, despicable man, who treated his wife and children badly.

Origin of despicable

1545–55; < Late Latin dēspicābilis, equivalent to Latin dēspic(ārī) to despise or dēspic(ere) to look down (dē- de- + -spic- look, combining form of specere) + -ābilis -able
Related formsdes·pi·ca·bil·i·ty, des·pi·ca·ble·ness, noundes·pi·ca·bly, adverb

Synonyms for despicable

Antonyms for despicable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for despicable

Contemporary Examples of despicable

Historical Examples of despicable

  • But side by side with these despicable men what heroism we saw!

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • She had just done a thing that was mean, or at least she had done a thing from a mean, a despicable motive.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • But despicable as his conduct had been, he underwent no hasty condemnation.

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

  • The despicable methods he was adopting troubled him not in the least.

  • I w-wouldn't have believed that anyone would be so despicable!

    Mary Rose of Mifflin

    Frances R. Sterrett

British Dictionary definitions for despicable



worthy of being despised; contemptible; mean
Derived Formsdespicability or despicableness, noundespicably, adverb

Word Origin for despicable

C16: from Late Latin dēspicābilis, from dēspicārī to disdain; compare 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 despicable

1550s, from Late Latin despicabilis, from Latin despicari "despise, disdain, look down on," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicare, variant of specere "to look" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper