Definition of contemn in English:



[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • Treat or regard with contempt.

    ‘it lay in Deronda's nature usually to contemn the feeble’
    • ‘We dread both to be contemptible and to be contemned.’
    • ‘When he balks, she reminds him that ‘No Lover should his Mistriss Pray'rs withstand: / Yet you contemn my absolute Command ’.’
    • ‘Who is more contemned than he who clings stubbornly to old moral insights?’
    • ‘While it may be that a person's contemning an order made in the main action would be strong evidence of deliberate frustration, it does not automatically follow that it is.’
    • ‘And viciously contemning the Church more often than not entails a disdainful sidelong glance at the benighted faithful who persist in allegiance to her.’
    despise, scorn, treat with contempt, feel contempt for, look down on, disdain, slight, undervalue, disregard, deride, jeer at, scoff at, mock, revile, spurn
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Late Middle English: from Latin contemnere, from con- (expressing intensive force) + temnere despise.