Definition of despite in English:


Line breaks: des|pite
Pronunciation: /dɪˈspʌɪt



[mass noun] archaic Back to top  
  • 1Contemptuous treatment or behaviour; outrage: the despite done by him to the holy relics
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    • When news was brought to King James of the despite done to his authority by the defeat and slaughter of his representative in Dumfriesshire, he was much incensed.
    • If his arms were victorious, Charlemagne vowed to himself that he would hang Ogier on the field, for still the despite done him by Godfrey rankled in his heart.
    • The excommunication which he pronounced against his erring nephews was probably occasioned as much by the political grievances of his family as by righteous indignation at the despite done to the Council.
  • 2Contempt; disdain: the theatre only earns my despite
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    • He has earned my despite. I simply don't care.
    • The despite in which he is now held among the nation is legendary.


despite (or in despite) of

archaic In spite of: in despite of its tranquillity, this is not a dreary place
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  • The latter commented, ‘And I still am keen on meeting my friends on a weekly basis, despite of my deteriorating health conditions.’
  • Crime reaches us despite of whatever security measures we put in place.
  • She was honoured to run her short distance despite of having broken her leg.

despite oneself

Used to indicate that one did not intend to do the thing mentioned: despite herself Frau Nordern laughed
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  • Also controversial was his use of front-wheel-drive, which a reluctant British market came to accept despite itself.
  • And there's some funny business, although you might occasionally laugh despite yourself.
  • One of the things that happens when you are in power for a long time is that, despite yourself, you become the status quo.



adjective ( • archaic )
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  • His eyes narrowed in a despiteful expression and I thought for a moment I had made him truly angry.
  • It is extremely vital to become aware of spy-ware online and chuck out the despiteful code from your PC files.
  • They do this with an evil heart and despiteful mind.


Middle English (originally used as a noun meaning 'contempt, scorn' in the phrase in despite of): from Old French despit, from Latin despectus 'looking down on', past participle (used as a noun) of despicere (see despise).

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