Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
December 5th, 2014
Episode 36 of 825 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 05, 2014 is: deride \dih-RYDE\ verb 1 : to laugh at contemptuously 2 : to subject to usually bitter or contemptuous ridicule Examples: Although derided by classmates for his cocksure insistence that he would be a millionaire by the age of 25, he achieved his goal when his Internet startup went public. "The aggressive, scowling superstar who'd deride you for your lack of taste and even tell you you're holding your phone wrong suddenly wants to invite you to dinner." Chris Matyszczyk, CNET, November 2, 2014 Did you know? When deride was borrowed into English in the 16th century, it came to us by combining the prefix de- with ridēre, a Latin verb meaning "to laugh." Ridēre is also the ancestor of the English words risible ("laughable") and ridiculous. Of course, English has a number of words meaning "to laugh at unkindly"; in addition to deride, we have ridicule, mock, and taunt. Deride suggests laughter loaded with contemptuousness or bitterness, whereas ridicule implies a deliberate often malicious belittling ("consistently ridiculed everything she said"). Mock implies scorn often ironically expressed by mimicry or sham deference ("mocking the speaker's impassioned tones"). Taunt suggests jeeringly provoking insult or challenge ("hometown fans taunted the visiting team").