[skawf, skof]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to speak derisively; mock; jeer (often followed by at): If you can't do any better, don't scoff. Their efforts toward a peaceful settlement are not to be scoffed at.
verb (used with object)
  1. to mock at; deride.
  1. an expression of mockery, derision, doubt, or derisive scorn; jeer.
  2. an object of mockery or derision.

Origin of scoff

1300–50; Middle English scof; origin uncertain, but compare Old Norse skopa to scorn
Related formsscoff·er, nounscoff·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for scoff

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1. gibe. Scoff, jeer, sneer imply behaving with scornful disapproval toward someone or about something. To scoff is to express insolent doubt or derision, openly and emphatically: to scoff at a new invention. To jeer suggests expressing disapproval and scorn more loudly, coarsely, and unintelligently than in scoffing: The crowd jeered when the batter struck out. To sneer is to show by facial expression or tone of voice ill-natured contempt or disparagement: He sneered unpleasantly in referring to his opponent's misfortunes.

Antonyms for scoff

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

Examples from the Web for scoffer

Historical Examples of scoffer

  • I am delighted to testify to these things, because I had formerly been a scoffer.

  • All creeds may be welded together, but the Puritan and the scoffer are like oil and water.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • We know truth when we see it, let skeptic and scoffer say what they choose.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Said I was a scoffer and an infidel and didn't know anything about Scripture! '


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • It would never do for the scoffer to become a convert openly and at once.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for scoffer


  1. (intr often foll by at) to speak contemptuously (about); express derision (for); mock
  2. (tr) obsolete to regard with derision
  1. an expression of derision
  2. an object of derision
Derived Formsscoffer, nounscoffing, adjectivescoffingly, adverb

Word Origin for scoff

C14: probably from Scandinavian; compare Old Frisian skof mockery, Danish skof, skuf jest


  1. to eat (food) fast and greedily; devour
  1. food or rations

Word Origin for scoff

C19: variant of scaff food; related to Afrikaans, Dutch schoft quarter of the day, one of the four daily meals
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 scoffer

late 15c., agent noun from scoff (v.).



mid-14c., "jest, make light of something;" mid-15c., "make fun of, mock," from the noun meaning "contemptuous ridicule" (c.1300), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse skaup, skop "mockery, ridicule," Middle Danish skof "jest, mockery;" perhaps from Proto-Germanic *skub-, *skuf- (cf. Old English scop "poet," Old High German scoph "fiction, sport, jest, derision"), from PIE *skeubh- "to shove" (see shove (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper