despite (n., prep.)

c. 1300, despit (n.) "contemptuous challenge, defiance; act designed to insult or humiliate someone;" mid-14c., "scorn, contempt," from Old French despit (12c., Modern French dépit), from Latin despectus "a looking down on, scorn, contempt," from past participle of despicere "look down on, scorn," from de "down" (see de-) + spicere/specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). 

The prepositional sense "notwithstanding" (early 15c.) is short for in despite of "in defiance or contempt of" (c. 1300), a loan-translation of Anglo-French en despit de "in contempt of." It almost became despight during the 16c. spelling reform.

updated on August 01, 2018

Definitions of despite from WordNet

despite (n.)
lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike;
the despite in which outsiders were held is legendary
Synonyms: contempt / disdain / scorn
despite (n.)
contemptuous disregard;
she wanted neither favor nor despite
From, not affiliated with etymonline.