Definition of despite in English:



  • Without being affected by; in spite of.

    ‘he remains a great leader despite age and infirmity’
    • ‘He'd been turned away from the bar on suspicion of being under age despite being 28.’
    • ‘I for one have been unable, despite many attempts, to see a dentist for nearly 3 years.’
    • ‘He's certainly going to try, despite the escalating violence that threatens to engulf him.’
    • ‘Yet despite it affecting so many, these women are often failed by the health service.’
    • ‘He is languid, conceited, a natural leader of men despite his subordinate rank.’
    • ‘We waited for more than half an hour to be seated despite having made a reservation far in advance.’
    • ‘Thanks to the deserted roads I was there in half an hour, despite a wrong turning somewhere along the way.’
    • ‘Douglas is a very affectionate cat now and despite his suffering still sees humans as his friends.’
    • ‘She had a short dark hair cut framing a face that remained impish despite her age.’
    • ‘I've never really been one for graphs and charts, despite being a bit of a maths geek.’
    • ‘A court was told that despite his age the boy admitted stealing cash to pay for his drug habit.’
    • ‘However, despite these examinations a fracture in his foot allegedly went undetected.’
    • ‘Well, I did go out on New Year's Eve after all, despite having a horrible headache.’
    • ‘Yet the hype shows little sign of abating, despite the slowdown affecting capital markets.’
    • ‘Somehow, any mention of this film passed me by, despite its critical acclaim.’
    • ‘Is someone providing these children with cigarettes and alcohol despite their age?’
    • ‘We are in a city ravaged by war where the menfolk rally round a new leader despite their misgivings.’
    • ‘A great thinker and leader, you have a great deal of power despite being really poor.’
    • ‘Hence, very few workers will be affected by this decision, despite all the media publicity!’
    • ‘Yet, despite the upheavals of the modern age, they bring the book to a close on an optimistic note.’
    in spite of, notwithstanding, regardless of, in defiance of, without being affected by, in the face of, for all, even with, undeterred by
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mass nounarchaic
  • 1Contemptuous treatment or behaviour; outrage.

    ‘the despite done by him to the holy relics’
    • ‘If his arms were victorious, Charlemagne vowed to himself that he would hang Ogier on the field, for still the despite done him by Godfrey rankled in his heart.’
    • ‘When news was brought to King James of the despite done to his authority by the defeat and slaughter of his representative in Dumfriesshire, he was much incensed.’
    • ‘The excommunication which he pronounced against his erring nephews was probably occasioned as much by the political grievances of his family as by righteous indignation at the despite done to the Council.’
  • 2Contempt; disdain.

    ‘the theatre only earns my despite’
    • ‘The despite in which he is now held among the nation is legendary.’
    • ‘He has earned my despite. I simply don't care.’
    contempt, scorn, scornfulness, contemptuousness, derision, disrespect
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  • despite (or in despite) of

    • archaic In spite of.

      ‘in despite of its tranquillity, this is not a dreary place’
      • ‘What still amazes many people is the boom in the building trade in the town and the demand for new houses that has not reduced in volume despite of what national trends may suggest.’
      • ‘Crime reaches us despite of whatever security measures we put in place.’
      • ‘And so, despite of some success in a side career as an actress, the downward spiral of her personal life continued until she hit rock bottom in 1993.’
      • ‘The latter commented, ‘And I still am keen on meeting my friends on a weekly basis, despite of my deteriorating health conditions.’’
      • ‘She was honoured to run her short distance despite of having broken her leg.’
  • despite oneself

    • Used to indicate that one did not intend to do the thing mentioned.

      ‘despite herself Frau Nordern laughed’
      • ‘He and his teammates continued to make basic errors and almost despite themselves, Australia managed to level the scores.’
      • ‘I spent a lot of time at their house while I was growing up and despite themselves they made the house a warm and fun place to visit.’
      • ‘I find myself, in some weird way, sticking up for him, despite myself.’
      • ‘And there's some funny business, although you might occasionally laugh despite yourself.’
      • ‘The subtlest aspect of the movie is its attention to how Sam and Alex conceal information from each other as they start opening up despite themselves to their new environment.’
      • ‘It attempts to titillate but with a degree of sophistication that has us all watching despite ourselves.’
      • ‘Also controversial was his use of front-wheel-drive, which a reluctant British market came to accept despite itself.’
      • ‘The photograph effects a metamorphosis, not only of the object but of the subject, including the photographer, as well as of everyday reality, making them enter its realm, even despite themselves.’
      • ‘It was a grubby, grotty, sleazy, cruisy dive, but it had atmosphere, and we all loved it despite ourselves.’
      • ‘One of the things that happens when you are in power for a long time is that, despite yourself, you become the status quo.’


Middle English (originally used as a noun meaning ‘contempt, scorn’ in the phrase in despite of): from Old French despit, from Latin despectus ‘looking down on’, past participle (used as a noun) of despicere (see despise).