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contempt

[kuh n-tempt] /kənˈtɛmpt/
noun
1.
the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn.
2.
the state of being despised; dishonor; disgrace.
3.
Law.
  1. willful disobedience to or open disrespect for the rules or orders of a court (contempt of court) or legislative body.
  2. an act showing such disrespect.
Origin
1350-1400
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)
Related forms
self-contempt, noun
Synonyms
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for contempt
  • 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.
  • Smart people often exercise contempt before investigation.
  • If she does not decrypt the drive by month's end, as ordered, she could be held in contempt and jailed until she complies.
  • If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law.
  • They didn't argue back-they recoiled with pique and contempt.
  • The college and department described above are beneath contempt.
  • The haves simply looked at the have nots as poor creatures barely worthy of their contempt.
British Dictionary definitions for contempt

contempt

/kənˈtɛmpt/
noun
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
Word Origin
C14: from Latin contemptus a despising, from contemnere to contemn
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 contempt
n.

late 14c., from Latin contemptus "scorn," from past participle of contemnere "to scorn, despise," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + *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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Idioms and Phrases with contempt
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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