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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for contemptibly
Historical Examples
  • He talks well, is master of style, and writes not contemptibly in verse.

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

    The Man with a Shadow George Manville Fenn
  • He had won her trust, and had used it contemptibly for his own despicable ends.

  • Ah, if I could only say it without seeming so contemptibly heartless!

    Jason Justus Miles Forman
  • But as for Eleanor, he had been contemptibly mean to her, and, "By God!"

    The Vehement Flame Margaret Wade Campbell Deland
  • The Power of Life is not content that they who live in and by him should live poorly and contemptibly.

    Thomas Wingfold, Curate George MacDonald
  • 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
  • Changed to some contemptibly small process on which success depends.

  • Men can be catty, too––tom-catty, yet contemptibly feline when they are not on their good behavior.

    The Cup of Fury Rupert Hughes
  • It was just the sum which the benevolent actress gave annually to that most contemptibly helpless personage, Savage.

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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