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[kuh n-tem] /kənˈtɛm/
verb (used with object)
to treat or regard with disdain, scorn, or contempt.
Origin of contemn
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English contempnen (< Middle French) < Latin contemnere to despise, scorn, equivalent to con- con- + temnere to slight; see contempt
Related forms
[kuh n-tem-er, -tem-ner] /kənˈtɛm ər, -ˈtɛm nər/ (Show IPA),
[kuh n-tem-ner] /kənˈtɛm nər/ (Show IPA),
[kuh n-tem-nuh-buh l] /kənˈtɛm nə bəl/ (Show IPA),
contemnibly, adverb
contemningly, adverb
precontemn, verb (used with object)
uncontemned, adjective
uncontemning, adjective
uncontemningly, adverb
Can be confused
condemn, contemn.
scorn, disdain, despise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contemned
Historical Examples
  • That punyschment suld be appointed for suche as dissobeyid or contemned the Superintendentes in thair functioun.

  • Was this the man who contemned the whole English peasantry, colliers especially?

    Heartsease Charlotte M. Yonge
  • I fear his mastery of us, and we shall be contemned—objects for the red finger of scorn.'

  • In these sentiments I grew, hated and abhorring, despising and contemned.

    Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
  • If a man habitually sate down to luncheon, and ate it through, he was contemned as unversed in the science of feeding.

    Seeing and Hearing George W. E. Russell
  • Here is told of Beowulf, and how he was contemned in his youth, and is now grown so renowned.

  • But ordinarily among men in general, in every age, the state of single life has been looked down upon and contemned.

    Sermons Preached at Brighton Frederick W. Robertson
  • His life he contemned in comparison of the libertie of speech.

  • Could he make new friends here where the cartoons he drew and the Post that printed them had been contemned, if not despised?

    Americans All Various
  • God is contemned by them that think they are behind his back.

British Dictionary definitions for contemned


(transitive) (formal) to treat or regard with contempt; scorn
Derived Forms
contemner (kənˈtɛmnə; -ˈtɛmə) noun
contemnible (kənˈtɛmnɪbəl) adjective
contemnibly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin contemnere, from temnere to slight
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contemned



mid-15c., from Old French contemner (15c.), from Latin contemnere "to despise, scorn" (see contempt).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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