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[dih-rahy-siv, -ris-iv] /dɪˈraɪ sɪv, -ˈrɪs ɪv/
characterized by or expressing derision; contemptuous; mocking:
derisive heckling.
Also, derisory
[dih-rahy-suh-ree, -zuh-] /dɪˈraɪ sə ri, -zə-/ (Show IPA)
Origin of derisive
1655-65; deris(ion) + -ive
Related forms
derisively, adverb
derisiveness, noun
nonderisive, adjective
overderisive, adjective
overderisively, adverb
overderisiveness, noun
underisive, adjective
underisively, adverb
underisiveness, noun
underisory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for derisory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Steno was accused before the Quarantia and let off with a punishment which the Doge regarded as derisory.

    Venice and its Story Thomas Okey
  • The term astrology had none of the unfortunate or derisory signification that it has at the present time.

    The Popes and Science James J. Walsh
  • It is a contemptible and derisory gift for luck, like vituperative outcries.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • There are no longer insinuating and derisory shakings of the head in the presence of his works.

    Puvis de Chavannes Francois Crastre
  • Emitting a long streamer of smoke, he summed up the whole thing in a nutshell with a derisory—Pouf!

    Villa Elsa Stuart Henry
  • The slightest glance of amused and derisory intelligence passed between them as the Complete Sportsman plunged into the game.

  • She gave him a derisory little nod—and in a minute was well up the lawn, towards the castle.

    The Cardinal's Snuff-Box Henry Harland
  • "Come and shew yer ticket o' leave," urged Culling with derisory finger outstretched to indicate the forces of law and order.

    The Sixth Sense Stephen McKenna
British Dictionary definitions for derisory


/dɪˈraɪsərɪ; -zərɪ/
subject to or worthy of derision, esp because of being ridiculously small or inadequate
another word for derisive


/dɪˈraɪsɪv; -zɪv/
showing or characterized by derision; mocking; scornful
Derived Forms
derisively, adverb
derisiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for derisory

1610s, from Latin derisorius, from derisor "derider," agent noun from deridere (see deride).



1620s, "characterized by derision," from Latin deris-, past participle stem of deridere (see derision) + -ive. Meaning "ridiculous" is from 1896. Related: Derisively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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