• synonyms


[kon-too-muh-lee, -tyoo-; kuhn-too-muh-lee, -tyoo-; kon-tuhm-lee, -tyoom, -chuhm]
noun, plural con·tu·me·lies.
  1. insulting display of contempt in words or actions; contemptuous or humiliating treatment.
  2. a humiliating insult.
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Origin of contumely

1350–1400; Middle English contumelie (< Anglo-French) < Latin contumēlia, perhaps akin to contumāx (see contumacy), though formation and sense development are unclear
Related formscon·tu·me·li·ous [kon-too-mee-lee-uhs, -tyoo-] /ˌkɒn tuˈmi li əs, -tyu-/, adjectivecon·tu·me·li·ous·ly, adverbcon·tu·me·li·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for contumely

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

Examples from the Web for contumeliously

Historical Examples of contumeliously

  • Nevertheless, let us bring the lens to bear upon the minute particle so contumeliously treated.

    The Glow-Worm and Other Beetles

    Jean Henri Fabre

  • In great wrath he swore to take vengeance on the man who had dared to tear up his complaint so contumeliously.

    Legends of the Rhine

    Wilhelm Ruland

  • Yes; he to whom all things belong is most meanly and most contumeliously called Pecunia.

    The City of God, Volume I

    Aurelius Augustine

  • One might believe that Lucullus thought his money really captive and barbarian, so wantonly and contumeliously did he treat it.

  • If any person shall wilfully blaspheme the holy name of God by denying, cursing, or contumeliously reproaching his being.

British Dictionary definitions for contumeliously


noun plural -lies
  1. scornful or insulting language or behaviour
  2. a humiliating or scornful insult
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Derived Formscontumelious (ˌkɒntjʊˈmiːlɪəs), adjectivecontumeliously, adverbcontumeliousness, noun

Word Origin for contumely

C14: from Latin contumēlia invective, from tumēre to swell, as with wrath
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 contumeliously



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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper