Perish the thought! Disdain vs. distain

All too often writers who mix up these two words are the butt of mockful criticism.

Distain is an archaic word meaning to be stained or disgraced. Typically what writers mean when they use the word distain is actually disdain.

Disdain as a noun means something not worthy of respect, such as Many New Yorkers hold Los Angeles’ art scene with disdain. It also can be a verb that means to judge poorly, as in She refused to go through the door held, disdaining his offer to be a “gentleman.”

In short, if you find yourself using the word distain, cross it out. You probably mean disdain.