Familiarity breeds contempt

Cultural Dictionary

Familiarity breeds contempt definition


The better we know people, the more likely we are to find fault with them.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

familiarity breeds contempt

Long experience of someone or something can make one so aware of the faults as to be scornful. For example, Ten years at the same job and now he hates itfamiliarity breeds contempt. The idea is much older, but the first recorded use of this expression was in Chaucer's Tale of Melibee (c. 1386).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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