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From Middle English deignen, from Old French deignier (consider worthy), from Latin dīgnō (consider worthy), from dīgnus (worthy). Cognate to dignity and French daigner.



deign (third-person singular simple present deigns, present participle deigning, simple past and past participle deigned)

  1. (intransitive) To condescend; to do despite a perceived affront to one's dignity.
    He didn't even deign to give us a nod of the head; he thought us that far beneath him.
  2. (transitive) To condescend to give; to do something.
    • William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act I scene II:
      Nor would we deign him burial of his men.
    • 1871, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Heartsease, Or, The Brother's Wife, volume 2, page 189:
      He, who usually hardly deigned a glance at his infants, now lay gazing with inexpressible softness and sadness at the little sleeping face []
  3. (obsolete) To esteem worthy; to consider worth notice.
    • 1598?, William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, scene I, line 162-3
      I fear my Julia would not deign my lines, receiving them from such a worthless post.

Related terms[edit]