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From Latin contemptus (scorn), from contemnō (I scorn, despise), from com- + temnō (I despise). Displaced native Old English forsewennes.


  • IPA(key): /kənˈtɛmpt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛmpt


contempt (countable and uncountable, plural contempts)

  1. (uncountable) The state or act of contemning; the feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless; scorn, disdain.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes. He said that if you wanted to do anything for them, you must rule them, not pamper them.
  2. The state of being despised or dishonored; disgrace.
  3. (law) Open disrespect or willful disobedience of the authority of a court of law or legislative body.



Derived termsEdit

Terms derived from contempt (noun)

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further readingEdit