displaying or feeling a strong dislike or lack of respect toward someone or something viewed as unworthy or inferior.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



contemptuous, scornful, contemptible, disrespectful, derisive, haughty, supercilious, arrogant, sneering, dismissive.


respectful, admiring, deferential, praising, complimentary, humble, modest, reverent, accepting.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun disdainfulnesses, disdainfulness
Verb None
Adjective disdainful
Adverb disdainfully

Example Sentences

  • The wealthy socialite turned up her nose in disdainful contempt at the sight of the shabby, ill-dressed homeless man begging for change on the street corner.

  • Anna’s disdainful attitude towards her coworkers did not go unnoticed, as they often felt belittled and undervalued by her condescending remarks and actions.

  • Despite his high intelligence and impressive success in the business world, Robert was often criticized for his disdainful treatment of his employees, as he was known to be ruthless and uncaring.

  • The professor’s disdainful response to his student’s question made him feel foolish and embarrassed, causing him to hesitate to participate in class discussions in the future.


The adjective “disdainful” is a useful word that is often used to describe someone who displays a negative, contemptuous, or disrespectful attitude towards others, particularly those who they perceive as inferior or unworthy. The word can be used to refer to a wide range of behaviors, including scornful glances, dismissive comments, arrogant posturing, and condescending gestures.

One interesting aspect of the word “disdainful” is its root word, “disdain,” which comes from the Old French word “desdeign,” meaning “to reject with contempt.” This origin helps explain why “disdainful” is often used to describe behavior that is derogatory or belittling. However, it is important to note that the word can also be used to describe a person or thing that simply inspires disgust or revulsion, without necessarily implying any active hostility or contempt.

One possible variation of the word is the adverb “disdainfully,” which is commonly used to describe actions or speech that are prideful, arrogant, or contemptuous. The adverb is formed by adding the suffix “-ly” to the end of the adjective, and can be used to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs in a sentence. For example, one might say, “He shook his head disdainfully,” or “She spoke to him in a disdainful tone.”

Overall, “disdainful” is a powerful and versatile word that can be used to describe a range of negative attitudes and behaviors. Whether used to describe individuals who are arrogant and condescending, or to refer to situations or things that inspire disgust or contempt, the word is a useful tool for conveying strong emotions and attitudes in writing or speaking.