• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to treat or regard with disdain, scorn, or contempt.
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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
Related formscon·temn·er [kuhn-tem-er, -tem-ner] /kənˈtɛm ər, -ˈtɛm nər/, con·tem·nor [kuhn-tem-ner] /kənˈtɛm nər/, nouncon·tem·ni·ble [kuhn-tem-nuh-buhl] /kənˈtɛm nə bəl/, adjectivecon·tem·ni·bly, adverbcon·temn·ing·ly, adverbpre·con·temn, verb (used with object)un·con·temned, adjectiveun·con·temn·ing, adjectiveun·con·temn·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedcondemn contemn

Synonyms for contemn

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for contemners

Historical Examples of contemners

  • The fact may have conciliated some of our own contemners of "good form."

    A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2

    George Saintsbury

  • And was it not on the contemners of the gods that their heaviest punishments fell?

  • We are not contemners of marriage, nor neglecters of home and offspring.

    Julia Ward Howe

    Laura E. Richards

  • They were Makin people, I believe, probably staunch heathens, contemners of the missionary and his works.

    In the South Seas

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Penalties and sums of money must be enjoined, and then without pardon taken from the contemners.

British Dictionary definitions for contemners


  1. (tr) formal to treat or regard with contempt; scorn
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Derived Formscontemner (kənˈtɛmnə, -ˈtɛmə), nouncontemnible (kənˈtɛmnɪbəl), adjectivecontemnibly, adverb

Word Origin for contemn

C15: from Latin contemnere, from temnere to slight
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

Word Origin and History for contemners



mid-15c., from Old French contemner (15c.), from Latin contemnere "to despise, scorn" (see contempt).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper