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[dih-spahyz] /dɪˈspaɪz/
verb (used with object), despised, despising.
to regard with contempt, distaste, disgust, or disdain; scorn; loathe.
Origin of despise
1250-1300; Middle English despisen < Old French despis-, stem of despire < Latin dēspicere; see despicable
Related forms
despisable, adjective
despisableness, noun
despiser, noun
despisingly, adverb
undespised, adjective
undespising, adjective
contemn, detest.
admire. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for despise
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Strive to win to your arms a lady who must ever continue to despise you.

    Alida Amelia Stratton Comfield
  • A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

  • There is not a man aboard but hates or fears him, nor is there a man whom he does not despise.

    The Sea-Wolf Jack London
  • I have no enmity to these ladies; I only despise them, or rather, their follies and their faults.

  • I do not pretend to despise the rich things of the world, or the high things.

    Phineas Finn Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for despise


(transitive) to look down on with contempt; scorn: he despises flattery
Derived Forms
despiser, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French despire, from Latin dēspicere to look down, from de- + specere to look
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 despise

c.1300, from Old French despis-, present participle stem of despire "to despise," from Latin despicere "look down on, scorn," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicere/specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Related: Despised; despising.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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