What does scandal mean?

Definitions for scandal
ˈskæn dlscan·dal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word scandal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. scandal, dirt, malicious gossipnoun

    disgraceful gossip about the private lives of other people

  2. scandal, outragenoun

    a disgraceful event


  1. scandalnoun

    An incident or event that disgraces or damages the reputation of the persons or organization involved.

    Their affair was reported as a scandal by most tabloids.

  2. scandalnoun

    Damage to one's reputation.

    The incident brought considerable scandal to his family.

  3. scandalnoun

    Widespread moral outrage, indignation, as over an offence to decency.

    When their behaviour was made public it caused a great scandal.

  4. scandalnoun

    Religious discredit; an act or behaviour which brings a religion into discredit.

  5. scandalnoun

    Something which hinders acceptance of religious ideas or behaviour; a stumbling-block or offense.

  6. scandalnoun

    Defamatory talk; gossip, slander.

    According to village scandal, they weren't even married.

  7. Etymology: From scandale, from scandalum, from σκάνδαλον, from skand-. Cognate with scando.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SCANDALnoun

    Etymology: σ άνδαλον; scandle, French.

    His lustful orgies he enlarg’d
    Even to the hill of scandal, by the grove
    Of Moloch homicide. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. i.

    If black scandal, or foul-fac’d reproach,
    Attend the sequel of your imposition,
    Your meer enforcement shall acquittance me
    From all the impure blots and stains thereof. William Shakespeare, R. III.

    My known virtue is from scandal free,
    And leaves no shadow for your calumny. John Dryden, Aurengz.

    In the case of scandal, we are to reflect how men ought to judge. John Rogers, Sermons.

  2. To Scandalverb

    To treat opprobriously; to charge falsely with faults.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    You repin’d,
    Scandal’d the suppliants; for the people call’d them
    Time-pleasers, flatterers. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    I do fawn on men, and hug them hard,
    And after scandal them. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.


  1. Scandal

    A scandal can be broadly defined as the strong social reactions of outrage, anger, or surprise, when accusations or rumours circulate or appear for some reason, regarding a person or persons who are perceived to have transgressed in some way. These reactions are usually noisy and may be conflicting, and they often have negative effects on the status and credibility of the person(s) or organisation involved. Society is scandalised when it becomes aware of breaches of moral norms or legal requirements, often when these have remained undiscovered or been concealed for some time. Such breaches have typically erupted from greed, lust or the abuse of power. Scandals may be regarded as political, sexual, moral, literary or artistic but often spread from one realm into another. The basis of a scandal may be factual or false, or a combination of both. In contemporary times, exposure of a scandalous situation is often made by mass media. Contemporary media has the capacity to spread knowledge of a scandal further than in previous centuries and public interest has encouraged many cases of confected scandals relating to well-known people as well as genuine scandals relating to politics and business. Some scandals are revealed by whistleblowers who discover wrongdoing within organizations or groups, such as Deep Throat (William Mark Felt) during the Watergate scandal in the 1970s in the United States. Whistleblowers may be protected by laws which are used to obtain information of misdeeds and acts detrimental to their establishments. However, the possibility of scandal has always created a tension between society's efforts to reveal wrongdoing and its desire to cover them up ... and the act of covering up (or indeed of revealing) a contentious situation may become a scandal.


  1. scandal

    A scandal refers to a shocking, immoral, or disgraceful action or event, often involving people in positions of power, fame, or authority. It typically involves behaviors such as corruption, dishonesty, or unethical practices that are publicly exposed and often result in damage to reputation, loss of public trust, or legal consequences. Often, scandals draw significant public attention or media coverage.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Scandalnoun

    offense caused or experienced; reproach or reprobation called forth by what is regarded as wrong, criminal, heinous, or flagrant: opprobrium or disgrace

  2. Scandalnoun

    reproachful aspersion; opprobrious censure; defamatory talk, uttered heedlessly or maliciously

  3. Scandalnoun

    anything alleged in pleading which is impertinent, and is reproachful to any person, or which derogates from the dignity of the court, or is contrary to good manners

  4. Scandalverb

    to treat opprobriously; to defame; to asperse; to traduce; to slander

  5. Scandalverb

    to scandalize; to offend


  1. Scandal

    A scandal is a widely publicized allegation or set of allegations that damages the reputation of an institution, individual or creed. A scandal may be based on true or false allegations or a mixture of both. From the Greek σκάνδαλον, a trap or stumbling-block, the metaphor is that wrong conduct can impede or "trip" people's trust or faith. Some scandals are broken by whistleblowers who reveal wrongdoing within organizations or groups, such as Deep Throat during the 1970s Watergate scandal. Sometimes an attempt to cover up a possible scandal ignites a greater scandal when the cover-up fails.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Scandal

    skan′dal, n. something said which is false and injurious to reputation: disgrace: opprobrious censure.—v.t. to defame, to aspire.—ns. Scan′dal-bear′er, a propagator of malicious gossip; Scandalisā′tion, defamation.—v.t. Scan′dalise, to give scandal or offence to: to shock: to reproach: to disgrace: to libel.—n. Scan′dal-mong′er, one who deals in defamatory reports.—adj. Scan′dalous, giving scandal or offence: calling forth condemnation: openly vile: defamatory.—adv. Scan′dalously.—ns. Scan′dalousness; Scan′dalum-magnā′tum, speaking slanderously of high personages, abbrev. Scan. Mag. [Fr. scandale—L. scandalum—Gr. skandalon, a stumbling-block.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. scandal

    Gossip related by a small-bore.

Suggested Resources

  1. scandal

    Song lyrics by scandal -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by scandal on the Lyrics.com website.

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British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'scandal' in Nouns Frequency: #2036

How to pronounce scandal?

How to say scandal in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of scandal in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of scandal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of scandal in a Sentence

  1. Oscar Wilde:

    Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.

  2. Gerald Gurney:

    I can safely say that the scope of the 20-year UNC fraud scandal easily takes the prize for the largest and most nefarious scandal in the history of NCAA enforcement. The depth and breadth of the scheme -- involving counselors, coaches, academic administrators, faculty, athletic administrators, etc. -- eclipses any previous case.

  3. Darby Stanchfield:

    During the pilot we were all trying to figure out what ‘Scandal’ is and our characters, and there’s this thing called ‘Scandal pace,’ in which we speak really fast, we weren’t in the same worlds in the pilot but we were just kind of checking in with each other about, ‘How are you doing?’ ‘What’s your process?’ and ‘Is it feeling a little fast?’.

  4. John Pearson:

    Like the old motto of a famous Sunday paper, 'All human life was there' in the stately circle of the Mountbatten-Windsors, as the family coped in semipublic with those everlasting elements of human interest-sickness, scandal, family tension and divorce.

  5. Valentin Lopez:

    We were raised not to say anything bad about the Catholic religion, but at the same time, we can't stay quiet about this. It's like the altar boy scandal. All the people who stayed quiet about the altar boy scandal, how do they feel now? it seems like the church is doing all it can to separate Serra from the atrocities and deaths and what happened to the Indians, but that does not work.

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"scandal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/scandal>.

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    diverge from the expected
    • A. exacerbate
    • B. aberrate
    • C. suffuse
    • D. abet

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