[dis-deyn, dih-steyn]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to look upon or treat with contempt; despise; scorn.
  2. to think unworthy of notice, response, etc.; consider beneath oneself: to disdain replying to an insult.
  1. a feeling of contempt for anything regarded as unworthy; haughty contempt; scorn.

Origin of disdain

1300–50; (v.) Middle English disdainen < Anglo-French de(s)deigner (see dis-1, deign); (noun) Middle English disdeyn < Anglo-French desdai(g)n, derivative of the verb
Related formsself-dis·dain, nounun·dis·dain·ing, adjective

Synonyms for disdain

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Synonym study

3. See contempt.

Antonyms for disdain

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

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British Dictionary definitions for disdain


  1. a feeling or show of superiority and dislike; contempt; scorn
  1. (tr; may take an infinitive) to refuse or reject with disdain

Word Origin for disdain

C13 dedeyne, from Old French desdeign, from desdeigner to reject as unworthy, from Latin dēdignārī; see dis- 1, deign
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 disdain

late 14c., from Old French desdeignier "disdain, scorn, refuse, repudiate," from des- "do the opposite of" (see dis-) + deignier "treat as worthy" (see deign). Related: Disdained; disdaining.


mid-14c., desdegne "scorn, contempt," earlier dedeyne "offended dignity" (c.1300), from Old French desdeigne, from desdeignier (see disdain (v.)). Sometimes in early Modern English shortened to sdain, sdainful. Related: disdainful; disdainfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper