Scornful refers to displaying contempt or disdain towards someone or something.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



contemptuous, disdainful, sneering, insulting, derisive, mocking, arrogant, haughty, snobbish, contemptible.


admiring, approving, respectful, complimenting, praising.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective scornful
Adverb scornfully

Example Sentences

  • Bella threw a scornful glance at her classmate who failed to answer the easy question in class.

  • The policymakers’ scornful attitude towards the concerns of the common people may lead to their downfall in the upcoming elections.

  • The CEO exhibited a scornful behavior towards his subordinates, making them feel unimportant and discouraged.

  • The journalist wrote a scornful article about the politician’s latest decision, sparking a heated debate among readers.


Scornful is an adjective that describes a feeling or behavior that displays disrespect, contempt, or disdain towards someone or something. It is often used to convey a sense of an elevated or superior position, as if looking down upon someone or something with contempt.

The word scornful comes from the root word ‘scorn’, which means contempt, disdain or ridicule. The suffix ‘-ful’ is added to make scornful an adjective that connotes a disposition of contempt or derisiveness towards a person or thing. There are some variations of the word scornful, including its noun form ‘scorn’ and its adverb form ‘scornfully’.

The prefix ‘dis-’ is sometimes added to the word scornful to form the word ‘disdainful’, which is similar in meaning to scornful. Disdainful conveys a sense of extreme contempt or disdain towards a person or thing, often bordering on outright hatred. For example, a teacher who is disdainful towards a student may dislike them to the point of not wanting them to succeed.

In literary works, scornful language and behavior are often used to create conflict and tension between characters, particularly in situations where one character is in a position of power over another. In such cases, scornful behavior can serve to highlight a character’s arrogance or overconfidence.

Overall, the word scornful is a powerful descriptor that connotes a strong sense of disrespect, contempt or disdain towards a person, thing, or event. Its use in language can lend texture and nuance to characters and situations, providing insight into the thoughts, emotions, and motivations of those involved.