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 contemptuousness

Historical Examples of contemptuousness

  • If the pastor took you for a courtier, I reverence him for his contemptuousness.

  • He looked through her with a contemptuousness such as she could not have imagined.

    Main Street

    Sinclair Lewis

  • She muttered rather than spoke these few words, but with a contemptuousness of inflection that was most expressive.

    The Faith Doctor

    Edward Eggleston

  • For Tobe an attitude of contemptuousness appeared to be the indicated mood.

    Ladies and Gentlemen 

    Irvin S. (Irvin Shrewsbury) Cobb

  • By a slow facial manoeuvre, Mr. Neal contrived to make his cigar look out upon the world with contemptuousness unbearable.


    Henry Sydnor Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for contemptuousness



(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 contemptuousness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper