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More specifically, I would like a verb that means to hold something with low value to oneself in a low opinion and/or to treat it as such.

I am looking for a verb that might fit into this sentence with the aforesaid meaning:

I   __   this TV show.

Rather than saying:

I have a low opinion of this TV show.

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Dislike? Hate? Detest? How low can you go? (Which is to say, define "low", otherwise the answers will be all over the map, and rightfully so.) –  RegDwigнt Jul 28 '12 at 18:10
    
I'll edit to be more specific. –  American Luke Jul 28 '12 at 18:11
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condemn, disdain, scorn, scoff, sneer, ridicule, and many others –  nalply Jul 28 '12 at 18:16
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@nalply I scoff this show? I sneer this show? –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jul 28 '12 at 18:19
    
Sorry I didn't read the question carefully enough. –  nalply Jul 28 '12 at 18:21
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7 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

It turns out that the OED does attest a verb (and resulting noun) disesteem. They suggest that it may be related to its French cognate désestimer from the 16th century, or to the equivalent Italian version, disestimare. I get the feeling these were used more way back when than they are now.

The OED gives to disesteem as a transitive verb whose first (and only non-obsolete) sense is:

To regard with the reverse of esteem; to hold in low estimation, regard lightly, think little (or nothing) of, slight, despise.

  • 1594 Daniel Cleopatra Ded., ― Ourselves, whose error ever is Strange notes to like, and disesteem our own.
  • 1629 Lynde Via tuta 195 ― The authority of Prelates would bee disesteemed.
  • 1735 Wesley Wks. (1872) XIV. 208 ― Nor will he at all disesteem the precious pearl, for the meanness of the shell.
  • 1868 Helps Realmah (1876) 262 ― Thinking that he had somehow or other offended Ellesmere, or was greatly disesteemed by him.

That’s the verb; also per OED, the noun is:

The action of disesteeming, or position of being disesteemed; want of esteem; low estimation or regard.

  • 1603 Florio Montaigne (1634) 66 ― The Turkes, a nation equally instructed to the esteeme of armes, and disesteeme of letters.
  • 1670 Milton Hist. Eng. ɪ. Wks. (1851) 1 ― Disesteem and contempt of the public affairs.
  • 1697 Dryden Virg. Past. Pref. (1721) I. 76 ― Pastorals are fallen into Disesteem.
  • 1754 Edwards Freed. Will ɪᴠ. i. 195 ― Their Worthiness of Esteem or Disesteem, Praise or Dispraise.
  • 1810 Bentham Packing (1821) 91 ― Whatever tends to bring a man in power into ‘disesteem’.
  • 1884 Pennington Wiclif ii. 32 ― The prevailing disesteem in which the Scriptures were held.

This Google N-gram suggests that while not quite unknown, that it has even less currency than do disparage or deprecate:

N-gram of disesteem vs disparage vs deprecate

Gosh, they were certainly more negative back in the 19th century, weren’t they now? :)

Sure, it’s kind of old-fashioned, but it does seem to exactly match your desired sense. It’s probably better than the (only deceptively, as it turns out) modern-sounding disrespect, and doesn’t carry the overtones of active disapproval that disparage does.

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This may be a "real word," but I would suspect that a speaker or writer was not a native speaker of English if he said or wrote, "I disesteem this TV show." –  JLG Jul 29 '12 at 0:02
    
@JLG: Fo' sho'! just because a centuries-obsolete word superficially seems to match a context is no justification for reviving it. I disparage such paleologisms –  FumbleFingers Jul 29 '12 at 1:51
    
@FumbleFingers Google books shows plenty of hits in the last half-century. Like this one: “It is the "shameful" that is lived as though it would induce others, at the very least, to disesteem one if it were revealed to them.” And here’s a recent one from The Economist: That is because tobacco companies and gun makers rank alongside pederasts and journalists in the inventory of American dis-esteem. –  tchrist Jul 29 '12 at 1:59
    
@tchrist: Did you look at them? Almost everything in the first three pages is dictionaries, crossword helper lists, and quotes from archaic texts. I gave up after that. –  FumbleFingers Jul 29 '12 at 2:01
    
@FumbleFingers Sure: it always starts with dictionary entries. The noun use is much more common than the verb use, but the verb use is also recently attested. Refresh my updated comments. I know, I know: you just didn’t like the Milton; well, there’s always malt, which is supposed to be better at justification. :) –  tchrist Jul 29 '12 at 2:03
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I think loathe would work in your sentence. It means that you both detest and cannot tolerate something.

loathe

to dislike greatly and often with disgust or intolerance: detest

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A proper substitute for having a low opinion would be belittle:

To make small

To make (something or someone) out to be insignificant or unimportant

But in your sentence I doubt if it could act as a proper substitute while conveying the same meaning. Instead you could use one of the many synonyms of hate, as JLG suggests.

  • I greatly loathe this TV show.
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Belittling someone or something is to take an active stance against it by speaking ill of it. That’s not the same thing as to merely passively hold it in low regard. –  tchrist Jul 28 '12 at 22:09
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For OP's general definition of what he wants to convey, I like disparage - to regard or represent as being of little worth.

Being British though, I'd probably revert to type for his specific example sentence. Our "typical British understatement" would be something like "I don't think much of this TV show".

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There are many words which could fit that description. A few are...

  1. Dislike
  2. Abhor
  3. Loathe
  4. Hate
  5. Detest
  6. Condemn
  7. Despise

In my opinion, the word "detest" best fits your description. You could also say 'I believe this tv show is a waste'

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All these alternatives are along the general lines of "dislike", which doesn't really meet OP's request for "assess as having little or no value". –  FumbleFingers Jul 28 '12 at 19:07
    
@FumbleFingers, I think "despise" has that connotation; another choice, maybe archaic, would be "contemn". But really it doesn't sound like OP is really asking for such a specific connotation. –  The Photon Jul 28 '12 at 19:26
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"I dislike this TV show" is a good substitute for "I have a low opinion of it", but it doesn't really have the specific connotation of holding it of low value.

To belittle or disparage something implies not only that you hold it of low value, but also that you share that opinion with others.

To despise something would have the connotation of holding it of low value. So would to contemn, meaning to hold in contempt, but it is not a common word nowadays.

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While a verb was requested, I think nalply's suggestion of disdain is a good one:

disdain (noun) - a feeling of contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior : scorn

I would say "I have disdain for this TV show."

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