Word of the Day

: June 3, 2024


verb dih-RYDE

What It Means

To deride someone or something is to subject them to usually harsh and bitter insults or criticism.

// Although derided by classmates for his insistence that he would be a millionaire by the age of 25, he achieved his goal when his Internet startup went public.

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deride in Context

“Founded in 2012, this Redwood City brewery stands out for its British-style cask ales.... It's a traditional way of making beer without adding carbon dioxide. Often derided as resulting in beers that are flat and warm, that's not actually the case.” — Jay R. Brooks, The Mercury News (San Jose, California), 12 Mar. 2024

Did You Know?

Laughter may or may not be the best medicine—your mileage may vary—but it’s essential to understanding the verb deride. To deride someone or something is not merely to criticize or insult them, but to lower them (or attempt to lower them) in others’ esteem by making them appear ridiculous or worthy of mockery. This meaning is reflected in the word’s origins: deride comes from the Latin verb deridēre, a combination of the prefix de- (“to reduce or make lower”) and ridēre, meaning “to laugh.” Ridēre echoes in other English words as well, including ridicule and ridiculous. Ridicule functions as both verb (“to make fun of”) and noun (“the act of making fun of”), while ridiculous describes what arouses or deserves ridicule or mockery. More obscure than either of these ridēre descendants is the medical term risorius, which refers to a narrow band of muscle fibers in the face that reach to the corners of the mouth to make smiling possible. One does not necessarily need one’s risorius to deride something—people in the act of deriding may appear quite angry, even—but inspiring the bitter, contemptuous laughter of those within earshot is often the goal.

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective derived from Latin ridēre that means “arousing or provoking laughter”: r _ s _ b _ _.



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