1. a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc.
  2. an offense caused by a fault or misdeed.
  3. damage to reputation; public disgrace.
  4. defamatory talk; malicious gossip.
  5. a person whose conduct brings disgrace or offense.
verb (used with object), scan·daled, scan·dal·ing or (especially British) scan·dalled, scan·dal·ling.
  1. British Dialect. to defame (someone) by spreading scandal.
  2. Obsolete. to disgrace.

Origin of scandal

1175–1225; < Late Latin scandalum < Late Greek skándalon snare, cause of moral stumbling; replacing Middle English scandle < Old French (north) escandle < Late Latin, as above
Related formsmin·i·scan·dal, nounsu·per·scan·dal, noun

Synonyms for scandal

Antonyms for scandal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for scandaling


  1. a disgraceful action or eventhis negligence was a scandal
  2. censure or outrage arising from an action or event
  3. a person whose conduct causes reproach or disgrace
  4. malicious talk, esp gossip about the private lives of other people
  5. law a libellous action or statement
verb (tr) obsolete
  1. to disgrace
  2. to scandalize
Derived Formsscandalous, adjectivescandalously, adverbscandalousness, noun

Word Origin for scandal

C16: from Late Latin scandalum stumbling block, from Greek skandalon a trap
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 scandaling



1580s, "discredit caused by irreligious conduct," from Middle French scandale (12c.), from Late Latin scandalum "cause for offense, stumbling block, temptation," from Greek skandalon "a trap or snare laid for an enemy," in New Testament, metaphorically as "a stumbling block, offense;" originally "trap with a springing device," from PIE *skand- "to leap, climb" (see scan (v.); cf. also slander (n.), which is another form of the same word).

Attested from early 13c., but the modern word likely is a reborrowing. Meaning "malicious gossip," also "shameful action or event" is from 1590s; sense of "person whose conduct is a disgrace" is from 1630s. Scandal sheet "sensational newspaper" is from 1939. Scandal-monger is from 1702.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper