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[des-pi-kuh-buh l, dih-spik-uh-] /ˈdɛs pɪ kə bəl, dɪˈspɪk ə-/
deserving to be despised, or regarded with distaste, disgust, or disdain; contemptible:
He was a mean, despicable man, who treated his wife and children badly.
Origin of despicable
1545-55; < Late Latin dēspicābilis, equivalent to Latin dēspic(ārī) to despise or dēspic(ere) to look down (dē- de- + -spic- look, combining form of specere) + -ābilis -able
Related forms
despicability, despicableness, noun
despicably, adverb
vile, mean, detestable.
admirable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for despicable
  • He's good at playing politics -- in the most despicable sense of the word.
  • Taking advantage of an unsuspecting audience is rather despicable.
  • But some of his behavior was despicable.
  • His behavior is despicable, no doubt.
  • Complications occur as greed propels one of the assistants to pursue his own despicable goals and place his companions at risk.
  • This is despicable politics.
  • The personal attacks against him are brainless and despicable.
  • You also belittled people with despicable name callings.
  • Former clients of the two lawyers said that if the charges were true, the lawyers' actions were disgusting and despicable.
  • To hear his voice droning on while someone is arrested for asking a question is despicable.
British Dictionary definitions for despicable


/dɪˈspɪkəbəl; ˈdɛspɪk-/
worthy of being despised; contemptible; mean
Derived Forms
despicability, despicableness, noun
despicably, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin dēspicābilis, from dēspicārī to disdain; compare despise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for despicable

1550s, from Late Latin despicabilis, from Latin despicari "despise, disdain, look down on," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicare, variant of specere "to look" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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