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From Latin contumāx (stubborn, obstinate)


  • Hyphenation: con‧tu‧ma‧cious
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌkɒn.tjʊˈmeɪ.ʃəs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌkɑːn.tʊˈmeɪ.ʃəs/, /ˌkɑːn.tjəˈmeɪ.ʃəs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃəs


contumacious (comparative more contumacious, superlative most contumacious)

  1. Contemptuous of authority; willfully disobedient; rebellious.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes” in The Poetical Works of John Milton, volume 4 (edited by Henry John Todd; published in 1801), page 505:
      The queen hears of it; takes occaſion to paſſe wher he is, on purpoſe, that, under prætense of reconſiling to him, or ſeeking to draw a kind retractation from him of the cenſure on the marriage; to which end ſhe ſends a courtier before, to ſound whether he might be perſuaded to mitigate his ſentence; which not finding, ſhe herſelf craftily aſſays; and, on his conſtancie, ſounds an accuſation to Herod of a contumacious affront, on ſuch a day, before many peers; præpares the king to ſome paſſion, and at laſt, by her daughter’s dancing, effects it.
    • 1837, Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, Book 2.V:
      In all places too are Dissident Priests; whom the Legislative will have to deal with: contumacious individuals, working on that angriest of passions; plotting, enlisting.
  2. (law) Willfully disobedient to the summons or orders of a court.


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