- insulting display of contempt in words or actions; contemptuous or humiliating treatment.
- a humiliating insult.
Origin of contumely
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for contumelious
If I had been bred in the east, I should be tempted to say it was a contumelious responsibility.A Pessimist
I weep and cry out, I have been a most contumelious offender.The Works of John Marston
She turned the combs and brushes over with a contumelious hand.Joan of the Sword Hand
S(amuel) R(utherford) Crockett
Who now hath plumbed the depths of a contumelious paronomasia?Wilderness of Spring
Although I curled a contumelious lip, I smarted under the indignity.Simon the Jester
William J. Locke
- scornful or insulting language or behaviour
- a humiliating or scornful insult
Word Origin and History for contumelious
late 15c., from Old French contumelieus, from Latin contumeliosus "reproachful, insolently abusive," from contumelia (see contumely).
late 14c., from Old French contumelie, from Latin contumelia "a reproach, insult," probably related to contumax "haughty, stubborn," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + tumere "to swell up" (see thigh).
The unhappy man left his country forever. The howl of contumely followed him across the sea, up the Rhine, over the Alps; it gradually waxed fainter; it died away; those who had raised it began to ask each other, what, after all, was the matter about which they had been so clamorous, and wished to invite back the criminal whom they had just chased from them. [Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Lord Byron," 1877]