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[kuh n-temp-choo-uh s] /kənˈtɛmp tʃu əs/
showing or expressing contempt or disdain; scornful; disrespectful.
Origin of contemptuous
1520-30; < Latin contemptu-, stem of contemptus contempt + -ous
Related forms
contemptuously, adverb
contemptuousness, noun
half-contemptuous, adjective
half-contemptuously, adverb
noncontemptuous, adjective
noncontemptuously, adverb
noncontemptuousness, noun
uncontemptuous, adjective
uncontemptuously, adverb
uncontemptuousness, noun
Can be confused
contemptible, contemptuous.
disdainful, sneering, insolent, arrogant, supercilious, haughty.
respectful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contemptuous
  • They leave a troubling impression of an arrogant government, out of touch with its deputies and contemptuous of the popular mood.
  • The hatred that has generated in the minds of western leaders against the other nations is categorically contemptuous.
  • His reporters are as contemptuous of his readers as anybody around today.
  • contemptuous of money and honors, he upheld austere standards of conduct and inflexible political principles.
  • Appellant's behavior did not amount to contemptuous behavior.
  • Incredibly callous and disrespectful and contemptuous.
  • It was contemptuous, not only of the old capitalism, but of the old socialism.
British Dictionary definitions for contemptuous


when predicative, often foll by of. showing or feeling contempt; disdainful
Derived Forms
contemptuously, adverb
contemptuousness, noun
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 contemptuous

1590s, from Latin contemptus (see contempt). Related: Contemptuously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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