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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 contemptibly
Historical Examples
  • For so long she had acted a part, that it would be tragic to break down feebly, contemptibly, now close to the end of the drama.

    Bella Donna Robert Hichens
  • He talks well, is master of style, and writes not contemptibly in verse.

  • The instances alleged by Rationalists are contemptibly trivial when compared with the Bible predictions.

  • “Perhaps I am contemptibly mean and suspicious,” he muttered.

    The Man with a Shadow George Manville Fenn
  • It was such a contemptibly little thing, and yet, like a poisonous pin-prick, it threatened to gangrene the whole venture.

    A Dash .. .. .. For a Throne Arthur W. Marchmont
  • Ah, if I could only say it without seeming so contemptibly heartless!

    Jason Justus Miles Forman
  • When Higson came to the gate it looked so contemptibly easy that he determined to climb it with his bundles on his back.

    The Three Lieutenants W.H.G. Kingston
  • Men can be catty, too––tom-catty, yet contemptibly feline when they are not on their good behavior.

    The Cup of Fury Rupert Hughes
  • Thus “I cannot think so contemptibly of the age I live in,” is exchanged for “the age in which I live.”

  • I think we conceived of him as tall, with drooping fair moustaches, and contemptibly meticulous in his dress.

    Grey Roses Henry Harland
British Dictionary definitions for contemptibly


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 contemptibly



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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