1. open or unqualified contempt; disdain: His face and attitude showed the scorn he felt.
  2. an object of derision or contempt.
  3. a derisive or contemptuous action or speech.

verb (used with object)

  1. to treat or regard with contempt or disdain: They scorned the old beggar.
  2. to reject, refuse, or ignore with contempt or disdain: She scorned my help.

verb (used without object)

  1. to mock; jeer.


  1. laugh to scorn, to ridicule; deride: Her good advice was laughed to scorn.


  1. open contempt or disdain for a person or thing; derision
  2. an object of contempt or derision
  3. archaic an act or expression signifying contempt


  1. to treat with contempt or derision
  2. (tr) to reject with contempt

n.c.1200, a shortening of Old French escarn “mockery, derision, contempt,” a common Romanic word (cf. Spanish escarnio, Italian scherno) of Germanic origin, from Proto-Germanic *skarnjan “mock, deride” (cf. Old High German skern “mockery, jest, sport,” Middle High German scherzen “to jump with joy”). Probably influenced by Old French escorne “affront, disgrace,” which is a back-formation from escorner, literally “to break off (someone’s) horns,” from Vulgar Latin *excornare (source of Italian scornare “treat with contempt”), from Latin ex- “without” (see ex-) + cornu “horn” (see horn (n.)). v.c.1200, from Anglo-French, Old North French escarnir (Old French escharnir), from the source of scorn (n.). Cf. Old High German skernon, Middle Dutch schernen. Related: Scorned; scorning. Forms in Romanic languages influenced by confusion with Old French escorner “deprive of horns,” hence “deprive of honor or ornament, disgrace.”

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