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verb (used with object), de·spised, de·spis·ing.
  1. to regard with contempt, distaste, disgust, or disdain; scorn; loathe.
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Origin of despise

1250–1300; Middle English despisen < Old French despis-, stem of despire < Latin dēspicere; see despicable
Related formsde·spis·a·ble, adjectivede·spis·a·ble·ness, nounde·spis·er, nounde·spis·ing·ly, adverbun·de·spised, adjectiveun·de·spis·ing, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

revile, disdain, repudiate, reject, neglect, undervalue, scorn, detest, deride, snub, eschew, shun, hate, abhor, loathe, abominate, spurn, execrate, renounce, slight

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British Dictionary definitions for despise


  1. (tr) to look down on with contempt; scornhe despises flattery
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Derived Formsdespiser, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French despire, from Latin dēspicere to look down, from de- + specere to look
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 despise


c.1300, from Old French despis-, present participle stem of despire "to despise," from Latin despicere "look down on, scorn," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicere/specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Related: Despised; despising.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper