Definition of scandal in English:



  • 1An action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage.

    ‘a bribery scandal involving one of his key supporters’
    • ‘Frank turns in his badge to protest his being dragged into a political scandal involving the police commissioner and the commissioner's gay lover.’
    • ‘France is reeling from daily revelations about bribery and corruption scandals.’
    • ‘If you spend any time on the Internet in the U.S., it is almost impossible not to know about the scandal involving touch screen voting machines.’
    • ‘There are no major events, very few scandals, and not many people are having parties.’
    • ‘The party has also been involved in numerous financial and sexual scandals.’
    • ‘The local politician's comments have created a scandal within her party and one member of parliament has advised her to step down.’
    • ‘This spectacular and much awaited artistic event almost generated a political scandal.’
    • ‘Despite a highly regulated market, financial scandals still happen in the UK.’
    • ‘Corruption scandals involving presidential aides have also drained his approval ratings.’
    • ‘At first glance, the spate of sex scandals involving sports stars appears to be nothing out of the ordinary.’
    • ‘Opinion polls suggest that voters are increasingly worried about the scandal and the economy, rather than terrorism.’
    • ‘Could that be the reason for the various scandals involving public funds?’
    • ‘All the doping scandals at the Games involved weightlifting.’
    • ‘After a number of scandals involving politician's exotic sex lives, a plain old case of bribery seems prosaic.’
    • ‘Analysts, too, have grave concerns about the effect of expenses scandals on the public's attitude.’
    • ‘Does he feel people are naturally suspicious due to several high-profile scandals involving evangelists?’
    • ‘The code of conduct governing ministers' behaviour was drawn up after a series of scandals involving Tory ministers.’
    • ‘It was finally hit by a series of scandals that involved both fraudulent personal enrichment and illegal party financing.’
    • ‘State subsidies have replaced donations in an effort to end the long series of scandals surrounding party finances.’
    • ‘Financial scandals tend to involve politicians and businesspeople rather than celebrities.’
    outrageous wrongdoing, outrageous behaviour, immoral behaviour, unethical behaviour, discreditable behaviour, shocking incident of events, shocking series of events, impropriety, misconduct, wrongdoing
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]The outrage or anger caused by a scandalous action or event.
      ‘divorce was cause for scandal in the island’
      • ‘These are speculations that stem from our knowledge of a more familiar side of scandal: lies, deceit and indignity.’
      • ‘It is their responsibility to present a stage-managed event that is free from scandal.’
      • ‘Watching celebrity lives is almost exactly like watching soap operas, and in a sphere where scandal is a weekly event, a gay drug binge gone wrong is hardly worthy of note.’
      • ‘He must have shamed them terribly, not only causing scandal, but also in breaking a contract with another family.’
      • ‘Without a proper home to raise a child, parents, a husband or even a secure job, this young girl faced shame and scandal living with a relative who at times seemed more like tyrant than a disciplinarian.’
      • ‘It was nothing like that, of course, but it was worth the kick in the shin he got from Tori to see the mixed expression of disgust, disbelief, outrage and scandal on Teague's face - at one and the same time.’
      • ‘They don't want to talk about the issues so they try to talk about scandal and events that are now years old.’
      shame, dishonour, disgrace, disrepute, discredit, infamy, ignominy, embarrassment
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    2. 1.2[mass noun]Rumour or malicious gossip about scandalous events or actions.
      ‘I know that you would want no scandal attached to her name’
      • ‘Oscar Wilde wrote that scandal is gossip made tedious by morality, and similarly witchcraft was magic made sinister by Christianity.’
      • ‘There was talk of the weather, the crops, some gossip and scandal, some hunting and fishing news.’
      • ‘How far are we complicit in the corruption of current affairs by our own viewing habits, by our love of gossip and scandal?’
      • ‘Rasputin's unpopularity and her refusal to curb his increasingly degenerate behavior led to enormous scandal and vicious rumours.’
      • ‘The Bill carries local humour, scandal and gossip from the past year.’
      • ‘Summer was a major flirt who thrived on scandal and gossip, and she was the type of self-proclaimed daredevil who'd try anything once.’
      • ‘Few estates have a history as colourful as Mourne Park in Co Down, where gossip and scandal have been par for the course over the centuries.’
      • ‘Le Figaro was launched in 1854 as a weekly review of society gossip and scandal, ‘to recount Paris to Paris’.’
      • ‘Merry points out the role of gossip and scandal in social control, especially in bounded social systems where interdependence and ostracism costs are higher.’
      • ‘They were a rich and important family, you see, and they couldn't stand to see any shame which could bring scandal for them.’
      • ‘In 1810 he survived a frenzied attack by his valet, though scandal insisted that Cumberland had been the aggressor.’
      • ‘Despite all of the shame, scandal and fraud surrounding the history of the conversion movement, to this day ex-gay ministries are still a very real faction of society.’
      • ‘I take my seat at the convivial bar in the Queen's Grill Lounge and become enthralled by the idiosyncrasies of my ship-mates as they are narrated by that font of scandal and gossip, the bartender.’
      • ‘In retirement in Tiverton, Cowley became more and more concerned about her own reputation for respectability, and she worked hard to make sure that no breath of scandal hung over her life.’
      • ‘Now she's an object of pity and scandal in Sydney society, and she spills her feelings and facts to another cabined, cribbed and confined captive, her ex-teacher Miss Adie.’
      • ‘Remember to email me all your newsy bits, scandal and gossip.’
      • ‘The reader with an eye for colourful detail and elegant prose, not to mention for racy scandal and rumour, will no doubt forgive the book's shortcomings.’
      • ‘As the awards ceremony approaches, there is always scandal and gossip.’
      • ‘Again, like today's, its doings were chronicled by an irreverent, iconoclastic press eager for celebrity gossip and social scandal.’
      • ‘With juicy gossip and scandal about the rich and famous in Taiwan, the magazine took the country by storm, selling out in hours.’
      malicious gossip, slander, libel, scandalmongering, calumny, defamation, aspersions, muckraking, smear campaign
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    3. 1.3[in singular]A state of affairs regarded as wrong or reprehensible and causing general public outrage or anger.
      ‘it's a scandal that many older patients are dismissed as untreatable’
      • ‘It is a scandal, in the fullest sense of that word, that those who call themselves Christian turn religion into an excuse for hatred, injustice and violence.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that so many of the cinema's greatest works remain unavailable on video’
      • ‘It is a scandal that this has been prevented because of orders to meet Labour's targets.’
      • ‘It is a scandal the Executive is allowing it to go ahead.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that people die younger in the north, fewer young people go to university, and wages are lower.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that it has taken until now for ministers to move.’
      • ‘It was a scandal of wasted potential then and it is a scandal of wasted potential now.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that there are more managers than beds.’
      • ‘He said it was a scandal that the party in Skipton should give such meagre aid to the organisation's funds.’
      • ‘He said it was a scandal that at a time when the Beladd Park houses were being built the Irish people had to cough up three times the average price to build the houses.’
      • ‘This is one of the most visible areas of the river and it is a scandal nothing has been done to enhance it.’
      • ‘The UN has long been criticised for its excessive bureaucracy; in normal times, it is a scandal and an extravagance - in time of emergency it is lethal.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that the industry has not resolved the problems of greyhound suffering.’
      • ‘‘It is a scandal that Scotland's schools are blighted by violence,’ he said.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that the Government has so badly underestimated the logistical difficulties of organising postal voting.’
      • ‘It is a scandal and a great sadness that Christianity, even from early times, has been marked by dissent and division.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that there is no official monument to commemorate the contribution of women in the Second World War.’
      • ‘‘It is a scandal that this Government took the best pensions system in Europe and turned it into one of the worst,’ he said.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that shames the good name of noble Limerick.’
      • ‘I know that it was a scandal that before 1997 it was our country - Britain - that did least in Europe and as a result wasted the potential and talents of millions.’
      disgrace, outrage, injustice
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Middle English (in the sense ‘discredit to religion (by the reprehensible behaviour of a religious person)’): from Old French scandale, from ecclesiastical Latin scandalum cause of offence, from Greek skandalon snare, stumbling block.