What does "shouting scorn" mean in:

86 years before Boris Yeltsin stood on a tank in Moscow in 1991, shouting scorn for a coup attempt, Russians marched to the Winter Palace to present petitions to the Tsar.

What I understand is something like this:

Russians marched to the Winter Palace to give petitions to the Tsar. 86 years after that, in 1991; Boris Yeltsin shouted "I feel contempt for any attempt to change the government" while he was standing on a tank.

  • 1
    Not quite "for any attempt to change the government," but "for a violent change to, or sudden upheaval in, the government." A coup is a very specific kind of change; NOAD reads: a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power.
    – J.R.
    Jul 5, 2013 at 9:42

3 Answers 3


You've got it about right. There's no meaning other than the dictionary definition for the two words (ie, 'shouting scorn' is not a phrase/cliche in its own right).

Mr Yeltsin is scornful about the coup attempt, and he is shouting to let everyone know of his scorn.

I would add "by coup" to your sentence of what Mr Yeltsin is shouting. A change of government by ordinary means probably wouldn't make him scornful.

  • 2
    I would have said that whereas shouting scorn is just about credible (I'd prefer shouting scornfully in most contexts), I can't really get my head around shouting scorn for [something]. But I've just checked Google Books, in which the only instance of this form is Shouting scorn for the timid lawmen. It's from Robert M. Utley, so maybe I'd better not dismiss it as "ungrammatical". But I don't like it one little bit. Jul 5, 2013 at 17:07

"To shout scorn" is to shout "scornful" words.


There is an expression in British English (maybe others) which is to "pour scorn" on something. President Yeltsin could have poured scorn on the coup attempt.

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