Definition of scorn in US English:



  • 1The feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable; contempt.

    ‘I do not wish to become the object of scorn’
    in singular ‘a general scorn for human life’
    • ‘His passionate advocacy has earned him the love of coma-affected families, and the scorn of the medical profession in equal measure.’
    • ‘As much as I valued the path of Eastern spirituality and meditation, I was uncomfortable with its subtle scorn for the physical world.’
    • ‘He reserves most of his scorn for the film-makers of his own generation who, as he sees it, betray their own talent.’
    • ‘He has the dubious distinction of being the first object of scorn for most people after they develop their literary palate beyond the 6th grade level.’
    • ‘My voice was filled with scorn for him and his threats.’
    • ‘Tailin stiffened at the scorn in the woman's voice.’
    • ‘What I hope is the people of Gravesham show their scorn for him by not going to his show.’
    • ‘That they are able to pour out their scorn for the West is a rather good demonstration of the freedom of speech they enjoy.’
    • ‘In many inner-city neighbourhoods, children emulate gangster culture and profess scorn for those who succeed in school.’
    • ‘Beaten and bruised, he patiently endures the ridicule and scorn heaped upon him.’
    • ‘She is an incredible artist who has endured public derision and scorn for well over a decade.’
    • ‘While the commercial provided exposure, it drew the scorn of genuine punkers.’
    • ‘As he read it, the scorn faded from his face, leaving him intent.’
    • ‘The more I have come to feel this way the more I've tried not to express scorn for things that do not catch my attention but that obviously mean a great deal to others.’
    • ‘He reserves special scorn for academic leaders who have debased the academy by pretending that fields like hospitality and gaming studies have a place at university.’
    • ‘In fact, the reason I remember this particular presentation at all is the scorn, contempt, and derision that followed.’
    • ‘I had taught him well; he showed no respect or scorn for the royal family.’
    • ‘Such high-minded scorn for the '90s and the general affluence and calm they represented is an eminently understandable sentiment.’
    • ‘Whether online or off, the kind of accessible and widely read work that brings an academic public recognition is likely to draw the scorn and suspicion of his colleagues.’
    • ‘Even the junior senator from North Carolina felt obliged to express her scorn for these malefactors of great wealth.’
    contempt, derision, contemptuousness, disdain, derisiveness, scornfulness, mockery, sneering, scoffing
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    1. 1.1archaic in singular A person viewed with scorn.
      ‘a scandal and a scorn to all who look on thee’
    2. 1.2archaic A statement or gesture indicating scorn.
      insult, sneer, jibe, cut, cutting remark, shaft, affront, slap in the face, slight, rebuff, brickbat, slur, scoff, jeer, taunt
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[with object]
  • 1Feel or express contempt or derision for.

    ‘I was routinely ridiculed and scorned by conservatives and liberals alike’
    • ‘Soldiers, when not needed, are scorned and underpaid; when needed, praised and still underpaid.’
    • ‘If the right-wingers disdain Lincoln for being too aggressively antislavery, the left-wingers scorn him for not being antislavery enough.’
    • ‘Just suffice it to say that I have stood where you stand now - scorned by family members, labeled a black sheep.’
    • ‘The ticket man openly scorned me for not having reviewed Goodbye Lenin!’
    • ‘It was his idea that all new Chelsea signings should have to sing a song in the dressing room on their first day, usually while being scorned and pelted with rubbish.’
    • ‘She said everyone in the village scorns her and because of that, she does not have a place to stay.’
    • ‘They find that they are continuously judged and scorned by peers and adults when they wear their uniform.’
    • ‘CEO's who were celebrating when the market was soaring are now being scorned by investors and investigated as well.’
    • ‘The Security Council was disdained and scorned as irrelevant.’
    • ‘I ask if being scorned by his old comrades-in-arms has saddened him.’
    • ‘If you had told me when I was the tender age of 15 that I would have this kind of life I would have laughed and scorned you.’
    • ‘The foreign minister was particularly scorned for going to the opera on Sunday night and not turning up for work until 31 hours after the earthquake.’
    • ‘Imagine sacrificing your son for someone else's sake, and not getting any credit, any appreciation for it, even being scorned and mocked for it.’
    • ‘The first five were friends from school teasing him in fun or scorning him with contempt.’
    • ‘‘When we called for international action, we were often scorned, disregarded or disappointed,’ Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently recalled.’
    • ‘They are not second-class citizens to be scorned acrimoniously.’
    • ‘He gained a reputation for honest in a government often scorned for corruption.’
    • ‘He told the guard to reassure the girl that she was not being scorned and that no one would laugh at her.’
    • ‘I think what happened is that he would have shut his mouth if they had treated him right, but he was scorned, and so he told what he knew.’
    • ‘It's not so long since he was scorned by the scientific establishment after claiming he could produce a map of the human genome faster than anyone else.’
    deride, be contemptuous about, hold in contempt, treat with contempt, heap scorn on, pour scorn on, be scornful about, look down on, look down one's nose at, disdain, curl one's lip at, mock, scoff at, sneer at, sniff at, jeer at, laugh at, laugh out of court
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    1. 1.1 Reject (something) in a contemptuous way.
      ‘opponents scorned his offer to negotiate’
      • ‘I'm now deeply grateful for the teaching I once scorned.’
      • ‘While scorned by most critics, the TV show attracted as many as 60 million US viewers between 1962 and 1971.’
      • ‘Despite scorning the idea that the culmination of scientific research is publications, he has authored several scientific papers.’
      • ‘Kate quite likes a bit of Reality TV when she gets home, while Carl scorns the very idea.’
      • ‘Several speakers cried, and some angrily scorned Plan 2008's strategy, arguing there should be more concrete plans to diversify.’
      • ‘Traditionally, the high-minded have scorned public drinking as a bit uncouth, while pop counter-culturalists have viewed it as a bit uncool.’
      • ‘The ESPA made an effort to include art forms like comics and zines specifically because they've been scorned by the mainstream.’
      • ‘I put up a link recently to one of his articles about how business, profit and commerce generally seem to be decried and scorned by the intelligentsia.’
      • ‘He weighed in the next day with a piece in which he scorned the very notion of scientific inquiry because of its inherent limitations.’
      • ‘But U.S. media coverage matched the bipartisan refusal by leaders in Congress to do anything but scorn the offer.’
      • ‘When I got there, I fell in love with the town that I had once scorned.’
      • ‘Initially they scorned the notion of accepting ads.’
      • ‘After scorning the bright lights of Los Angeles for years in favour of the wilds of an 800-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, he is suddenly Mr Hollywood.’
      • ‘Button mashing is generally scorned by hard-core gamers, but I argue that it's actually a valid learning technique.’
      • ‘He scorns the idea that he has sold out to commercialism, feeling instead that it is his mission to make an art form he loves loved by others.’
      • ‘The party trumpets the corporate trade agenda, scorning efforts to build environmental and worker rights protections into trade accords.’
      • ‘They were store-bought, the kind my mother would have scorned.’
      • ‘In 1972, for the usual teen reasons, I scorned my parentally approved room and set up a base camp in a narrow basement corridor that led to the downstairs bathroom and a storage closet.’
      • ‘She scorns his gallant language, and constantly rebuffs his advances.’
      • ‘The revelations about Dewar's astounding personal wealth belie the First Minister's image as a man who scorned the finer things in life and valued frugality and simplicity.’
      • ‘Hogeland's idea was scorned or ignored in the larger, more prosperous metropolitan centers in the 1890s.’
      • ‘Old stories that are often scorned as pure figments of the imagination have a habit of coming home to roost.’
      spurn, rebuff, reject, ignore, shun, snub
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    2. 1.2no object, with infinitive Refuse to do something because one is too proud.
      ‘at her lowest ebb, she would have scorned to stoop to such tactics’
      • ‘As time went on new rules were drafted, pitches were developed, the games began to draw the attention of people who at one time would have scorned to be associated with them.’
      • ‘When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death - that is heroism.’
      refuse to, refrain from, not lower oneself to
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  • pour scorn on

    • Speak with contempt or mockery of.

      • ‘In fact, he pours scorn on the idea that any such thing could really exist.’
      • ‘She pours scorn on plans to capitalise on the growing movement for father's rights.’
      • ‘I considered calling in the authorities, but a friend of mine pours scorn on anyone who summons the police for a problem that they could solve themselves.’
      • ‘I really do not want to discourage, or to pour scorn on, Mr Hide's hopes in that regard.’
      • ‘The group poured scorn on the idea that a merger between Bank of Ireland and AIB would be good for the country, saying it was ‘fantasy’.’
      • ‘There exists a grave mistake where people think Westernisation is development and pour scorn on all who try to uphold and espouse our local traditions.’
      • ‘Without being triumphalist or pouring scorn on media forecasts, he admitted the build-up to the game worked out perfectly for him.’
      • ‘This was a phrase that Wallis would pour scorn on when he attacked Hobbes' ideas.’
      • ‘Many in the arts industry reacted with horror to such an idea, pouring scorn on the author.’
      • ‘Doubters and critics have poured scorn on our ambitious plans or urged speed when a more thoughtful approach was deserved and required.’
      disparage, denigrate, run down, deprecate, depreciate, downgrade, play down, belittle, trivialize, minimize, make light of, treat lightly, undervalue, underrate, underestimate
      deride, be contemptuous about, hold in contempt, treat with contempt, heap scorn on, be scornful about, look down on, look down one's nose at, disdain, curl one's lip at, mock, scoff at, sneer at, sniff at, jeer at, laugh at, laugh out of court
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Middle English: shortening of Old French escarn (noun), escharnir (verb), of Germanic origin.