Denotation vs. Connotation


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for contemptuously
Historical Examples
  • "Cuss-an'-burn the blasted ole smooth-bore," said Fortner, contemptuously.

    The Red Acorn John McElroy
  • He stooped, picked it up, and cast it contemptuously from him.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • "More than one, I should think," returned Archie, contemptuously.

    Frank Among The Rancheros Harry Castlemon
  • A nobleman once contemptuously asked of a sage, “What have you got by all your philosophy?”

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • He and his mother were Queery and Drolly, contemptuously so called, and they answered to these names.

    Auld Licht Idylls J. M. Barrie
  • “No, he did not,” said the girl, shortly and contemptuously.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • "I begin to suspect that our Italian friends will be satisfied with this, and never go further," said Norwood, contemptuously.

    The Daltons, Volume II (of II) Charles James Lever
  • "You'll ruffle it to the gallows, no doubt," he said contemptuously.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • The commissionaire regarded him contemptuously, but did not reply to the sarcasm.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • On that he paused, and after an instant's silence Asad laughed angrily and contemptuously.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for contemptuously


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for contemptuously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for contemptuous

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for contemptuously

Scrabble Words With Friends