the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn.
the state of being despised; dishonor; disgrace.
willful disobedience to or open disrespect for the rules or orders of a court (contempt of court) or legislative body.
an act showing such disrespect.

1350–1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin contemptus a slighting = contemn(ere) to despise, scorn (see contemn) + -tus suffix of v. action (with loss of n and intrusive p)

self-contempt, noun

contempt , disdain , scorn imply strong feelings of disapproval and aversion toward what seems base, mean, or worthless. contempt is disapproval tinged with disgust: to feel contempt for a weakling . disdain is a feeling that a person or thing is beneath one's dignity and unworthy of one's notice, respect, or concern: a disdain for crooked dealing . scorn denotes open or undisguised contempt often combined with derision: He showed only scorn for those who were not as ambitious as himself. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
contempt (kənˈtɛmpt)
1.  the attitude or feeling of a person towards a person or thing that he considers worthless or despicable; scorn
2.  the state of being scorned; disgrace (esp in the phrase hold in contempt)
3.  wilful disregard of or disrespect for the authority of a court of law or legislative body: contempt of court
[C14: from Latin contemptus a despising, from contemnere to contemn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1390s, from L. contemptus "scorn," pp. of contemnere, from com- intens. prefix + temnere "to slight, scorn," of uncertain origin. Phrase contempt of court is attested from 19c., though the idea is several centuries older.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see familiarity breeds contempt.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
When the whole muscle is in action it gives to the countenance an expression of
  contempt and disdain.
But it has spawned a monstrous, predatory state bureaucracy and also shows a
  sweeping contempt for the rule of law.
The thief who steals your newspaper is admittedly a scuzzball, but mostly
  elicits annoyance and contempt.
Building a consensus for contempt gives them the courage to go home and fill
  that role.
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