Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday October 19, 1999
contumely \kon-TYOO-muh-lee; -TOO-; KON-tyoo-mee-lee; -too-; KON-tum-lee\ , noun:
1. Rudeness or rough treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt; scornful insolence.
2. An instance of contemptuousness in act or speech.
Nothing aggravates tyranny so much as contumely.
-- Edmund Burke
The pedlars find satisfaction for all contumelies in making good bargains.
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
Following years of police harassment and public contumely, he was arrested and charged with high treason, espionage and "anti-Soviet activity."
-- "Know Thyself, Free Thyself", New York Times, June 5, 1988
Contumely comes ultimately from Latin contumelia, outrage, insult.