[ kon-too-muh-lee, -tyoo-; kuhn-too-muh-lee, -tyoo-; kon-tuhm-lee, -tyoom, -chuhm ]
See synonyms for: contumelycontumelious on

noun,plural con·tu·me·lies.
  1. insulting display of contempt in words or actions; contemptuous or humiliating treatment.

  2. a humiliating insult.

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

Other words for contumely

Other words from contumely

  • con·tu·me·li·ous [kon-too-mee-lee-uhs, -tyoo-], /ˌkɒn tuˈmi li əs, -tyu-/, adjective
  • con·tu·me·li·ous·ly, adverb
  • con·tu·me·li·ous·ness, noun

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

How to use contumely in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for contumely


/ (ˈkɒntjʊmɪlɪ) /

nounplural -lies
  1. scornful or insulting language or behaviour

  2. a humiliating or scornful insult

Origin of contumely

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

Derived forms of contumely

  • contumelious (ˌkɒntjʊˈmiːlɪəs), adjective
  • contumeliously, adverb
  • contumeliousness, 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