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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 contemptuously
Historical Examples
  • "Cuss-an'-burn the blasted ole smooth-bore," said Fortner, contemptuously.

    The Red Acorn John McElroy
  • He only said, "Aw," contemptuously and coughed for more crushing arguments.

    The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • "More than one, I should think," returned Archie, contemptuously.

    Frank Among The Rancheros Harry Castlemon
  • Every one treated him as usual—except Wren, who cut him contemptuously.

  • He and his mother were Queery and Drolly, contemptuously so called, and they answered to these names.

    Auld Licht Idylls J. M. Barrie
  • "And it's just as plain," announced Cricket, contemptuously.

    Cricket at the Seashore Elizabeth Westyn Timlow
  • "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
  • "That's simply a yarn for greenhorns," said Demorest, contemptuously.

  • The commissionaire regarded him contemptuously, but did not reply to the sarcasm.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • She tore the flower to pieces, and threw it contemptuously on the ground.

    The Bravo of Venice Heinrich Zschokke
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
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Word Origin and History for contemptuously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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