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South African stand-up comedian Loyiso Gola frowning


From Middle English despect (contempt, spite), from Latin dēspectus (a looking down upon, contempt), from dēspicere (to look down upon, despise, scorn), from (down) + specere (to look at, behold), equivalent to de- +‎ -spect



despect (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Contempt, derision.
    • 1960, New Orient, Prague: Czechoslovak Society for Eastern Studies, OCLC 2264893, page 24:
      In 488 A.D. the then very young, energetic, clever and deceitful king Kavadh succeeded to the throne. The rule was actually in the hands of the most powerful nobleman, Sokhra of the Karen family, who had won fame in the war against the Huns. Sokhra treated the young king with despect as a boy. The king's anger over Sokhra's treatment of him was exploited by another nobleman, Shapur of the Mihran family, who helped Kavadh to remove the regent.
    • 1991, Chr[istian] Gorm Tortzen, quoting Johan Gustaf Wahlbom, “Male and Female in Peripatetic Botany”, in Classica et Mediaevalia: Revue Danoise de Philologie et d'Histoire, volume XLII, Copenhagen: Librarie Museum Tusculanum, Museum Tusculanum Press, →ISBN, ISSN 0106-5815, page 107:
      The majority of the most famous botanists of the 17th century raised their eyebrows in despect of this hypothesis of sex in plants as a new chimera and a ridiculous mental abortion of some persons who wanted to impress and delude the learned world.
    • 2004, Anthropologie, volume 42, Brno: Ústav Anthropos, Moravské zemské muzeum, ISSN 0323-1119, page 240:
      Interpretative potential of the Middle Paleolithic, a type of industry too widely distributed over large surfaces of the North African desert landscapes, is usually considered with despect in the archaeological literature.



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despect (third-person singular simple present despects, present participle despecting, simple past and past participle despected)

  1. (archaic) To hold in contempt, to despise, to look down on, to scorn.
    • c. 1633, Ben Jonson, A Tale of a Tub. A Comedy Composed by Ben: Iohnson. [...] London, Printed M.DC.XL [1640], in The Workes of Benjamin Jonson. The Second Volume. Containing these Playes, viz. 1 Bartholomew Fayre. 2 The Staple of Newes. 3 The Divell is an Asse, volume II, London: Printed for Richard Meighen, published 1640, OCLC 221338962, pages 72 and 79:
      [Act II, scene ii, page 72] Nay, but with patience, Sir, we that are Officers / Muſt 'quire the ſpeciall markes, and all the tokens / Of the deſpected parties, or perhaps – elſe, / Be nere the nere of our purpoſe in 'prehending 'hem.
      [Act III, scene i, page 79] Faith Goſſip Turfe, you have, you ſay, Remiſſion / To comprehend all ſuch, as are diſpected: / Now, would I make another privie ſearch / Through this Towne, and then you have zearch'd two towns.
    • 1790, [anonymous; attributed to James Stonhouse], “[The Spirit of Jesus Christ the Melchisedecal Priest, evinced from []] A View of the priestly office”, in Apostolical Conceptions of God, Being the Second Part of an Antecedent Publication, and is More Especially Addressed to the Favourers of the Arian and Socinian Persuasions, Bristol: Printed for the Author; And sold by G. Herdsfield, Aldersgate-Bars, London; and T. Mills, Wine-Street, Bristol, OCLC 642247905, pages 76–77:
      The holy Logos, condeſcending to aſſume the fleſh, voluntarily ſo diveſted himſelf of all apparent dignity, that he was therein conſidered as a meer man, incomparably inferior to, and distinct from, the prieſt offering him; and hence the features of correlation in them became indeed ſo effaced, that the Logos ſingly and of himſelf was deſpected for an abject and forlorn ſinner, devoted to wretchedneſs as an offender, lying under the curſe and condemnation divine juſtice, and deſerving its vengeance for guilt by tranſgreſſion and iniquity.
    • 1917, Reginald [John] Farrer, On the Eaves of the World, volume II, London: Edward Arnold, OCLC 1516136, page 68:
      [] wears, like our little friend of Karta-pu, an eared baby-bunting bonnet, sewn and embroidered to represent the mask of a tiger if looked down on from above; so that the jealous gods, despecting, see a beast and not a baby, and pass it by accordingly.

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Middle English[edit]


See English despect.



  1. Humble, looked down upon, lowly.



  1. Despect (contempt, derision).