Definition of deign in English:


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no object, with infinitive
  • 1Do something that one considers to be beneath one's dignity.

    ‘she did not deign to answer the maid's question’
    • ‘There is a third, rather stupid, tax distributional question, concerned with the impact of any such tax, but since I think the proposal out of court in principal, I will not deign to even consider this.’
    • ‘He is the ultimate rage freak, glorying in the heat of his negative reviews while rarely deigning to actually consider the positive.’
    • ‘He can, however, tap dance, and does so here, something Noel Coward wouldn't even have deigned to consider.’
    • ‘I shall await his answer when he deigns to speak to me.’
    • ‘The only time they interact is when Cal deigns to answer Stewart's many questions about his evening adventures.’
    • ‘‘I will not deign to answer that stupid question,’ he said.’
    • ‘Seating is known to ‘belong’ to particular families, with, at the least, sharp looks and some words to anyone else who deigns to sit in one of the ‘best seats.’’
    • ‘It happened on the very same roads I drive each fall with my students, looking for burrowing owls, a bird even the most cynical college freshman deigns to call ‘cute.’’
    • ‘Having wasted two paragraphs and several minutes of our time on nothing but attitude, the Gray Lady finally deigns to let us know what the story is actually about.’
    • ‘When she actually deigns to meet her constituents it's usually at an afternoon surgery advertised that same day in the local freesheet, which doesn't usually reach her constituents until evening.’
    • ‘I'm honoured that he deigns to share himself with me!’
    • ‘If some one deigns to comment, well and good, although I generally find that most commenters want to argue with me, rather than debate the subject.’
    • ‘Will they, after the President deigns to consult them, rubber stamp a resolution granting him enormous powers of life and death?’
    • ‘There is only ground cover and whatever else she deigns to preserve.’
    • ‘He even deigns to sit still for some group shots, even though it really looks like he's just contemplating escape.’
    • ‘Kafka never touches ground, he never deigns to offer you the clue to the maze.’
    • ‘You wait until some junior salesperson deigns to notice your apparent desire to be shown a car.’
    • ‘Why oh why is the nation not more appreciative when he deigns to confer his unique insights onto our lesser minds?’
    • ‘Until he deigns to bless us with his musical insights, we must make do with the old.’
    • ‘I am not, however, convinced that he is the cool cat who not once deigned to say a mere ‘good morning’.’
    1. 1.1 archaic with object Condescend to give (something)
      ‘he had deigned an apology’
      • ‘She didn't deign a reply until she was about three feet away.’
      • ‘Anthony didn't deign a reply because the teacher had now started to speak.’
      condescend, stoop, lower oneself, descend, think fit, see fit, deem it worthy of oneself, consent, vouchsafe
      View synonyms



/dān/ /deɪn/


Middle English from Old French degnier, from Latin dignare, dignari ‘deem worthy’, from dignus ‘worthy’.