showing or expressing contempt or disdain; scornful; disrespectful.

Origin of contemptuous

1520–30; < Latin contemptu-, stem of contemptus contempt + -ous
Related formscon·temp·tu·ous·ly, adverbcon·temp·tu·ous·ness, nounhalf-con·temp·tu·ous, adjectivehalf-con·temp·tu·ous·ly, adverbnon·con·temp·tu·ous, adjectivenon·con·temp·tu·ous·ly, adverbnon·con·temp·tu·ous·ness, nounun·con·temp·tu·ous, adjectiveun·con·temp·tu·ous·ly, adverbun·con·temp·tu·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedcontemptible contemptuous

Synonyms for contemptuous

Antonyms for contemptuous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contemptuously

Historical Examples of contemptuously

  • The parson never dreamed that any man could be afraid of him, except it were a liar, and he looked upon Rufus contemptuously.

    Cradock Nowell, Vol. 1 (of 3)

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore

  • "We, out here, don't believe much in the efficacy of blue blood," he said contemptuously.

    Wolf Breed

    Jackson Gregory

  • He knew that they were to climb together to the temple, and that it was a pilgrimage from which he was contemptuously debarred.

    The Dragon Painter

    Mary McNeil Fenollosa

  • He meant to say, contemptuously, "I can imagine nothing of less consequence!"

    Bunker Bean

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • This was not the kind of man to be contemptuously regarded or indiscreetly attacked.

British Dictionary definitions for contemptuously



(when predicative, often foll by of) showing or feeling contempt; disdainful
Derived Formscontemptuously, adverbcontemptuousness, 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

Word Origin and History for contemptuously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper