Definition of scandal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈskandl/


1An action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage: a bribery scandal involving one of his key supporters
More example sentences
  • Could that be the reason for the various scandals involving public funds?
  • There are no major events, very few scandals, and not many people are having parties.
  • After a number of scandals involving politician's exotic sex lives, a plain old case of bribery seems prosaic.
(outrageous) wrongdoing, impropriety, misconduct, immoral behavior, unethical behavior, discreditable behavior, outrageous behavior;
shocking incident, shocking series of events;
offense, transgression, crime, sin;
skeleton in the closet
informal business, affair, -gate
1.1The outrage or anger caused by a scandalous action or event: divorce was cause for scandal on the island
More example sentences
  • It was nothing like that, of course, but it was worth the kick in the shin he got from Tori to see the mixed expression of disgust, disbelief, outrage and scandal on Teague's face - at one and the same time.
  • Without a proper home to raise a child, parents, a husband or even a secure job, this young girl faced shame and scandal living with a relative who at times seemed more like tyrant than a disciplinarian.
  • Watching celebrity lives is almost exactly like watching soap operas, and in a sphere where scandal is a weekly event, a gay drug binge gone wrong is hardly worthy of note.
shame, dishonor, disgrace, disrepute, discredit, infamy, ignominy, embarrassment;
odium, opprobrium, censure, obloquy;
1.2Rumor or malicious gossip about scandalous events or actions: I know that you would want no scandal attached to her name
More example sentences
  • In retirement in Tiverton, Cowley became more and more concerned about her own reputation for respectability, and she worked hard to make sure that no breath of scandal hung over her life.
  • I take my seat at the convivial bar in the Queen's Grill Lounge and become enthralled by the idiosyncrasies of my ship-mates as they are narrated by that font of scandal and gossip, the bartender.
  • Again, like today's, its doings were chronicled by an irreverent, iconoclastic press eager for celebrity gossip and social scandal.
malicious gossip, malicious rumor(s), slander, libel, calumny, defamation, aspersions, muckraking, scandalmongering, smear campaign
informal dirt
1.3 [in singular] A state of affairs regarded as wrong or reprehensible and causing general public outrage or anger: it’s a scandal that many older patients are dismissed as untreatable
More example sentences
  • It was a scandal of wasted potential then and it is a scandal of wasted potential now.
  • It is a scandal that shames the good name of noble Limerick.
  • It is a scandal that the Government has so badly underestimated the logistical difficulties of organising postal voting.
disgrace, outrage, injustice;
(crying) shame, pity;
affront, insult, reproach


Middle English (in the sense 'discredit to religion (by the reprehensible behavior of a religious person)'): from Old French scandale, from ecclesiastical Latin scandalum 'cause of offense', from Greek skandalon 'snare, stumbling block'.

  • The words scandal and slander (Middle English) are closely related. Both go back to Latin scandalum ‘cause of offence’, from Greek skandalon ‘snare, stumbling block’. Originally scandal was a term restricted to the Christian Church. It referred to behaviour by a religious person that might bring discredit on their beliefs, and then, going back to the idea of a ‘stumbling block’, something that hinders faith. Our modern sense of an event causing general public outrage dates from the late 16th century and is first recorded in Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors: ‘I wonder much That you would put me to this shame and trouble, And not without some scandal to your self, With circumstance and oaths, so to deny this chain, which now you wear so openly’. See libel

Words that rhyme with scandal

candle, Coromandel, dandle, Handel, handle, mishandle, Randall, sandal, vandal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: scan·dal

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