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Community Comment

A Word A Day — vilipend

July 28, 2012

Word of the Day

  • vilipend
  • audio pronunciation
  • \VIL-uh-pend\


: to hold or treat as of little worth or account
: to express a low opinion of : disparage

As a women's movement pioneer, Susan B. Anthony fought against the dictums of those who would vilipend women by treating them as second-class citizens.

“But many accepted canine breeds began in lowly circumstances. No matter how we may vilipend their names, denying their cuteness is difficult.” — From Bill Casselman's 2010 book Where a Dobdob Meets a Dikdik


“Vilipend” first appeared in English in the 15th century and comes to us through French from the Latin roots “vilis,” meaning “cheap” or “vile,” plus “pendere,” meaning “to weigh” or “to estimate.” These roots work in tandem to form a meaning of “to deem to be of little worth.” Both of those roots have weighed in heavily as a source of common English words. Other “vilis” offspring include “vile” and “vilify,” while “pendere” has spawned such terms as “append,” “expend,” and “dispense.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at

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