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  1. open or unqualified contempt; disdain: His face and attitude showed the scorn he felt.
  2. an object of derision or contempt.
  3. a derisive or contemptuous action or speech.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to treat or regard with contempt or disdain: They scorned the old beggar.
  2. to reject, refuse, or ignore with contempt or disdain: She scorned my help.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to mock; jeer.
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  1. laugh to scorn, to ridicule; deride: Her good advice was laughed to scorn.
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Origin of scorn

1150–1200; (noun) Middle English scorn, scarn < Old French escarn < Germanic (compare obsolete Dutch schern mockery, trickery); (v.) Middle English skarnen, sc(h)ornen < Old French escharnir, eschernirGermanic
Related formsscorn·er, nounscorn·ing·ly, adverbout·scorn, verb (used with object)self-scorn, nounun·scorned, adjective

Synonyms for scorn

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Synonym study

1. See contempt.

Antonyms for scorn

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

Related Words for scorn

mockery, sarcasm, ridicule, derision, sneer, disdain, despise, spurn, repudiate, taunt, defy, refute, flout, ignore, disregard, deride, reject, shun, hate, abhor

Examples from the Web for scorn

Contemporary Examples of scorn

Historical Examples of scorn

British Dictionary definitions for scorn


  1. open contempt or disdain for a person or thing; derision
  2. an object of contempt or derision
  3. archaic an act or expression signifying contempt
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  1. to treat with contempt or derision
  2. (tr) to reject with contempt
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Derived Formsscorner, nounscornful, adjectivescornfully, adverbscornfulness, noun

Word Origin for scorn

C12 schornen, from Old French escharnir, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German scerōn to behave rowdily, obsolete Dutch schern mockery
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 scorn


c.1200, a shortening of Old French escarn "mockery, derision, contempt," a common Romanic word (cf. Spanish escarnio, Italian scherno) of Germanic origin, from Proto-Germanic *skarnjan "mock, deride" (cf. Old High German skern "mockery, jest, sport," Middle High German scherzen "to jump with joy").

Probably influenced by Old French escorne "affront, disgrace," which is a back-formation from escorner, literally "to break off (someone's) horns," from Vulgar Latin *excornare (source of Italian scornare "treat with contempt"), from Latin ex- "without" (see ex-) + cornu "horn" (see horn (n.)).

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c.1200, from Anglo-French, Old North French escarnir (Old French escharnir), from the source of scorn (n.). Cf. Old High German skernon, Middle Dutch schernen. Related: Scorned; scorning. Forms in Romanic languages influenced by confusion with Old French escorner "deprive of horns," hence "deprive of honor or ornament, disgrace."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper