a. Contempt or disdain felt toward a person or object considered despicable or unworthy: viewed his rivals with scorn.
b. The expression of such an attitude in behavior or speech; derision: heaped scorn upon his rivals.
c. The state of being despised or dishonored: held in scorn by his rivals.
2. Archaic One spoken of or treated with contempt.
tr.v. scorned, scorn·ing, scorns
1. To consider or treat as contemptible or unworthy: an artist who was scorned by conservative critics.
2. To reject or refuse with derision: scorned their offer of help. See Synonyms at despise.
3. To consider or reject (doing something) as beneath one's dignity: "She disapproved so heartily of Flora's plan that she would have scorned to assist in the concoction of a single oily sentence" (Stella Gibbons).
[Middle English, from Old French escarn, of Germanic origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.