[ kuhn-tem ]
See synonyms for contemn on
verb (used with object)
  1. to treat or regard with disdain, scorn, or contempt.

Origin of contemn

1375–1425; late Middle English contempnen (<Middle French ) <Latin contemnere to despise, scorn, equivalent to con-con- + temnere to slight; see contempt

Other words for contemn

Other words from contemn

  • con·temn·er [kuhn-tem-er, -tem-ner], /kənˈtɛm ər, -ˈtɛm nər/, con·tem·nor [kuhn-tem-ner], /kənˈtɛm nər/, noun
  • con·tem·ni·ble [kuhn-tem-nuh-buhl], /kənˈtɛm nə bəl/, adjective
  • con·tem·ni·bly, adverb
  • con·temn·ing·ly, adverb
  • pre·con·temn, verb (used with object)
  • un·con·temned, adjective
  • un·con·temn·ing, adjective
  • un·con·temn·ing·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with contemn

Words Nearby contemn Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use contemn in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for contemn


/ (kənˈtɛm) /

  1. (tr) formal to treat or regard with contempt; scorn

Origin of contemn

C15: from Latin contemnere, from temnere to slight

Derived forms of contemn

  • contemner (kənˈtɛmnə, -ˈtɛmə), noun
  • contemnible (kənˈtɛmnɪbəl), adjective
  • contemnibly, 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