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late 12c., scorn, skarn, "feeling or attitude of contempt; contemptuous treatment, mocking abuse," a shortening of Old French escarn "mockery, derision, contempt," a common Romanic word (Spanish escarnio, Italian scherno) of Germanic origin (source also of Old High German skern "mockery, jest, sport;" see scorn (v.)).

The vowel is perhaps influenced by Old French escorne "affront, disgrace," which is a back-formation from escorner, literally "to break off (someone's) horns" (see the verb). To laugh (someone) to scorn is from c. 1300 ("Sir Bevis").

late 12c., scornen, "act contemptuously;" early 13c., "feel scorn or contempt, be contemptuous;" late 13c., transitive, "hold in scorn or contempt;" from Anglo-French, Old North French escarnir (Old French escharnir), a common Romanic verb (Spanish escarnir, Italian schernire), from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *skarnjan "mock, deride" (source also of Middle High German scherzen "to jump with joy, Old High German skernon, Middle Dutch schernen). Related: Scorned; scorning.

OED rejects the suggestion that the vowel change in the Romanic languages might be by influence of or confusion with Old French escorner "deprive of horns," hence "deprive of honor or ornament, disgrace," from Vulgar Latin *excornare (source of Italian scornare "treat with contempt"), from Latin ex- "without" (see ex-) + cornu "horn" (see horn (n.)). 59ce067264


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