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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contemptuous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Yoxall51 points out that this colour was worn by medival Jews, and had a contemptuous or degrading significance.

    The Heritage of Dress Wilfred Mark Webb
  • It was not the contemptuous demand which he had been fearing.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • And now he, who had been so indifferent and so contemptuous, was sensitive to the least quiver of his mother's upper lip.

    The Tree of Heaven May Sinclair
  • Marjorie faced the furious girl with calm, contemptuous eyes.

    Marjorie Dean Pauline Lester
  • Had not Robert been full of his own troubles he would have been reassured, but he only gave a contemptuous groan.

    Hopes and Fears Charlotte M. Yonge
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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