- 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 contumely
For some time, he did not make a single convert, and gained nothing but contumely and abuse.Self-Help
Poverty, contumely, indignities of all sorts, met him wherever he turned.
No more should the gallant beast he had bred be seized with contumely in the market-place.The Wild Geese
Stanley John Weyman
We shall not be cast aside in contumely and unblest after all we have suffered.Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete
Albert Bigelow Paine
Where is an equal army of men to be found to invite the contumely of their own sex?Despair's Last Journey
David Christie Murray
- scornful or insulting language or behaviour
- a humiliating or scornful insult
Word Origin and History for 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]