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From Middle English disdeynen, from Old French desdeignier (modern French dédaigner).


  • enPR: dĭs-dān', IPA(key): /dɪsˈdeɪn/, /dɪsˈteɪn/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪn


disdain (uncountable)

  1. (uncountable) A feeling of contempt or scorn.
    The cat viewed the cheap supermarket catfood with disdain and stalked away.
  2. (obsolete) That which is worthy to be disdained or regarded with contempt and aversion.
  3. (obsolete) The state of being despised; shame.



Derived terms[edit]



disdain (third-person singular simple present disdains, present participle disdaining, simple past and past participle disdained)

  1. (transitive) To regard (someone or something) with strong contempt.
    • When the Philistine [] saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth.
    • 1880, Edward Henry Palmer (translator), The Qur'an, 1880, "Women", verse 170
      The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is but the apostle of God and His Word, […] The Messiah doth surely not disdain to be a servant of God, nor do the angels who are nigh to Him; and whosoever disdains His service and is too proud, He will gather them altogether to Himself. But as for those who believe and do what is right, He will pay their hire and will give increase to them of His grace. But as for those who disdain and are too proud, He will punish them with a grievous woe, and they shall not find for them other than God a patron or a help.
    • 2012 November 7, Matt Bai, “Winning a Second Term, Obama Will Confront Familiar Headwinds”, in New York Times[1]:
      The country’s first black president, and its first president to reach adulthood after the Vietnam War and Watergate, Mr. Obama seemed like a digital-age leader who could at last dislodge the stalemate between those who clung to the government of the Great Society, on the one hand, and those who disdained the very idea of government, on the other.
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To be indignant or offended.
    • 1526, William Tyndale (translator), Bible, Matthew XXI:
      When the chefe prestes and scribes sawe, the marveylles that he dyd [...], they desdayned, and sayde unto hym: hearest thou what these saye?