1. The act of using words, gestures, images, or other products of expression to evoke laughter or contemptuous feelings regarding a person or thing: a remark that invited the ridicule of his classmates.
2. The words or other products of expression used in this way: was subjected to a torrent of ridicule.
tr.v. rid·i·culed, rid·i·cul·ing, rid·i·cules
To expose to ridicule; make fun of.
[French, from Latin rīdiculum, joke, from neuter of rīdiculus, laughable; see RIDICULOUS.]
Synonyms: ridicule, mock, taunt1, deride
These verbs refer to making another the butt of amusement or mirth. Ridicule implies purposeful disparagement: "My father discouraged me by ridiculing my performances" (Benjamin Franklin).
To mock is to poke fun at someone, often by mimicking and caricaturing speech or actions: "the bear ... [devoured] the children who mocked God's servant Elisha for his baldness" (Garrison Keillor).
Taunt suggests mocking, insulting, or scornful reproach: "taunting him with want of courage to leap into the great pit" (Daniel Defoe).
Deride implies scorn and contempt: "Was all the world in a conspiracy to deride his failure?" (Edith Wharton).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.