Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A publicized incident that brings about disgrace or offends the moral sensibilities of society: a drug scandal that forced the mayor's resignation.
  • n. A person, thing, or circumstance that causes or ought to cause disgrace or outrage: a politician whose dishonesty is a scandal; considered the housing shortage a scandal.
  • n. Damage to reputation or character caused by public disclosure of immoral or grossly improper behavior; disgrace.
  • n. Talk that is damaging to one's character; malicious gossip.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An incident or event that disgraces or damages the reputation of the persons or organization involved.
  • n. Damage to one's reputation.
  • n. Widespread moral outrage, indignation, as over an offence to decency.
  • n. Religious discredit; an act or behaviour which brings a religion into discredit.
  • n. Something which hinders acceptance of religious ideas or behaviour; a stumbling-block or offense.
  • n. Defamatory talk; gossip, slander.
  • v. To treat opprobriously; to defame; to slander.
  • v. To scandalize; to offend.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Offense caused or experienced; reproach or reprobation called forth by what is regarded as wrong, criminal, heinous, or flagrant: opprobrium or disgrace.
  • n. Reproachful aspersion; opprobrious censure; defamatory talk, uttered heedlessly or maliciously.
  • n. 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.
  • transitive v. To treat opprobriously; to defame; to asperse; to traduce; to slander.
  • transitive v. To scandalize; to offend.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Offense caused by faults or misdeeds; reproach or reprobation called forth by what is considered wrong; opprobrium; shame; disgrace.
  • n. Reproachful aspersion; defamatory speech or report; something uttered which is injurious to reputation; defamatory talk; malicious gossip.
  • n. In law: A report, rumor, or action whereby one is affronted in public.
  • n. An irrelevant and defamatory or indecent statement introduced into a pleading or proceeding; any allegation or statement which is unbecoming the dignity of the court to hear, or is contrary to good manners, or which unnecessarily either charges a person with a crime or bears cruelly on his moral character.
  • n. That which causes scandal or gives offense; an action or circumstance that brings public disgrace to the persons involved, or offends public morals.
  • n. Synonyms Discredit, disrepute, dishonor.
  • n. Backbiting, slander, calumny, detraction.
  • To throw scandal on; defame; asperse; traduce.
  • To scandalize; offend; shock.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a disgraceful event
  • n. disgraceful gossip about the private lives of other people

Etymologies

French scandale, from Old French, cause of sin, from Latin scandalum, trap, stumbling block, temptation, from Greek skandalon; see skand- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French scandale ("indignation caused by misconduct or defamatory speech"), from Ecclesiastical Latin scandalum ("that on which one trips, cause of offense", literally "stumbling block"), from Ancient Greek σκάνδαλον (skándalon, "a trap laid for an enemy, a cause of moral stumbling"), from Proto-Indo-European *skand- (“to jump”). Cognate with Latin scandō ("to climb"). First attested from Old Northern French escandle, but the modern word is a reborrowing. Sense evolution from "cause of stumbling, that which causes one to sin, stumbling block" to "discredit to reputation, that which brings shame, thing of disgrace" possibly due to early influence from other similar sounding words for infamy and disgrace (compare Old English scand ("ignominy, scandal, disgraceful thing"), Old High German scanda ("ignominy, disgrace"), Gothic  (skanda, "shame, disgrace")). See shend. (Wiktionary)

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