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[kuh n-temp-tuh-buh l] /kənˈtɛmp tə bəl/
deserving of or held in contempt; despicable.
Obsolete, contemptuous.
Origin of contemptible
1350-1400; Middle English (< Middle French) < Late Latin contemptibilis, equivalent to contempt(us) (see contempt) + -ibilis -ible
Related forms
contemptibility, contemptibleness, noun
contemptibly, adverb
noncontemptibility, noun
noncontemptible, adjective
noncontemptibleness, noun
noncontemptibly, adverb
uncontemptibility, noun
uncontemptible, adjective
uncontemptibleness, noun
uncontemptibly, adverb
Can be confused
contemptible, contemptuous.
1. mean, abject, low, base.
1. admirable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contemptible
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Viewed from this position, Larry was not as contemptible as he had once appeared.

    At the Crossroads Harriet T. Comstock
  • What merit was there in being what it would be contemptible not to be?

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Are they all contemptible in comparison of the Campus Martius and the river Tiber?

  • Not another inch, you contemptible whelp, or I'll brain you!

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • Some of this tribe attain to a great size, and, as large as the whale is, will furnish it253 with no contemptible mouthful.

    The Arctic Whaleman Lewis Holmes
British Dictionary definitions for contemptible


deserving or worthy of contempt; despicable
Derived Forms
contemptibility, contemptibleness, noun
contemptibly, adverb
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 contemptible

late 14c., from Latin contemptibilis "worthy of scorn," from contempt-, past participle stem of contemnere (see contempt). Related: Contemptibility; contemptibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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