Definition of contempt in English:

contempt

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration.

    ‘Pam stared at the girl with total contempt’
    ‘he wouldn't answer a woman he held in such contempt’
    • ‘Just another scenario where caring for someone close to me gets me nothing by contempt, scorn and hate in return.’
    • ‘Given this kind of attitude it is hardly surprising that increasingly local politics is held in total contempt.’
    • ‘Watch out for scorn, sarcasm, ridicule and contempt and inappropriate humour.’
    • ‘I flinched as I heard her frosty voice tinged with bitter scorn and contempt.’
    • ‘They're just wanting to exert their authority and treat Territorians with total contempt.’
    • ‘So where does she stand on Guy Fawkes: a terrorist who deserves nothing but our contempt - or an anti-hero worth celebrating?’
    • ‘This was a slap in the face to those rulers: a challenge, contempt and scorn for them, as if they are mere flies or dung beetles!’
    • ‘The woman looked at them with total contempt, as if they were something she would wipe off her shoe.’
    • ‘The result of releasing these photographs would be, most likely, initial shock followed by disgust, contempt and repugnance.’
    • ‘These twentieth century cannibals deserve the greatest scorn and contempt from all workers and humanitarians!’
    • ‘Instead of tail-wagging gratitude, I was greeted with a look of utter contempt and scorn.’
    • ‘Any company that treats its customers with such contempt deserves to go out of business, many said.’
    • ‘They look upon it as a thing of contempt and scorn people who swear by virtual relationships.’
    • ‘If we can also apply this kind of contempt and scorn to people who, say, kill police officers, we'll really get somewhere.’
    • ‘But there are others who deserve not pity but contempt.’
    • ‘In this day and age it is hard to believe that people can be held up to hatred, ridicule and contempt by a light-hearted gossip paragraph.’
    • ‘Most Britons greeted this fraud with the scorn and contempt it deserves.’
    • ‘Later, I decided that I deserved his contempt, and I hated myself for what I had written.’
    • ‘The first five were friends from school teasing him in fun or scorning him with contempt.’
    • ‘But surely my discourse is not of such repulse that I am deserving of their contempt.’
    scorn, disdain, disrespect, deprecation, disparagement, denigration, opprobrium, odium, obloquy, scornfulness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Disregard for something that should be considered.
      ‘this action displays an arrogant contempt for the wishes of the majority’
      • ‘They have bad manners, contempt for authority and no respect for older people.’
      • ‘Well, I think his father had a certain contempt for the public relations factor in the presidency.’
      • ‘His contempt for the audience is only slightly less pronounced than his loathing of himself for being (in his own eyes) a phony and a sell-out.’
      • ‘This arrogance and contempt for public opinion must be curbed.’
      • ‘Aquinas believed good law must be enforceable, otherwise it would be disregarded and risk causing contempt for all laws.’
      • ‘Really, how can the media deny that they have utter contempt for the public?’
      • ‘It observes that the disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of mankind.’
      • ‘But his prickly sense of slighted dignity and obsessive contempt for other people's ethical squalor inevitably drags him down.’
      • ‘Demands for respect while showing contempt for the religions and cultures of others has denied them any empathy for their perceived grievances.’
      • ‘This power, exercised politically for far too long, has added to the public's contempt for the honours that are now made.’
      • ‘The statement showed contempt for the public education system - its students, teachers and communities.’
      • ‘Certainly they show a fanatic's contempt for the law.’
      • ‘If the Government refuses to introduce changes now, it will be demonstrating its contempt for democracy, public concern and animal welfare.’
      • ‘What standard of measuring respect or contempt for human life should we use in making these judgments?’
      • ‘How would he respond to the charge that his book expresses a certain contempt for the public?’
      • ‘We have reached a point where people feel contempt for the government but do not yet trust the opposition.’
      • ‘On the other hand the youth, like many others of his ilk these days, shows total disregard and contempt for authority of any kind.’
      • ‘These proposals seem to express an element of contempt for pet owners.’
      • ‘In the bars he'd frequented as a cowboy hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh.’
      • ‘Their contempt for human life and disregard for the principle of non-combatant immunity stem not from despair and anger, but from nihilism.’
    2. 1.2The offence of being disobedient to or disrespectful of a court of law and its officers.
      [count noun] ‘when he was found to have lied to the House this was a contempt’
      • ‘Three years ago, the Supreme Court said that legislation was needed to clarify the offence of contempt of court.’
      • ‘Of course, if the matter goes to trial, the witness can be compelled to attend to give evidence, and may be in contempt of court for failing to do so.’
      • ‘I just do not want it alleged that I am in contempt of court, my Lord.’
      • ‘As between further violence and contempt of court, she may rationally choose the jail cell.’
      • ‘The charges stem from the attempted arrest for contempt of court.’
      • ‘Yes, but the Supreme Court in its summary jurisdiction, which is a statutory jurisdiction, has no power to punish contempts of court.’
      • ‘Then the judge told Mr Beamish what was the maximum penalty for contempt of court.’
      • ‘The cross-motion was by the applicant for contempt of court, relying on some of the grounds raised now before me.’
      • ‘Earlier this year Dr Smith was found in contempt of court by the High Court.’
      • ‘Indeed, to do so would be a criminal offence - not defamation, but contempt of court, and you can go to jail for that.’
      • ‘In my view, this observation should be the starting point of any analysis focusing on the rationale of contempt of court.’
      • ‘The relevant sanction is either being held in contempt of court or being prosecuted under the criminal law.’
      • ‘That is neither a criminal offence nor a contempt of court.’
      • ‘Failure to do so would leave the health professional in contempt of court, an offence punishable by imprisonment.’
      • ‘I do not see how the Commonwealth could perform its part of the contract in that example without being in contempt of court.’
      • ‘But never the less I was charged with contempt of court and drunken disorderly conduct and put in jail.’
      • ‘A breach of an undertaking is contempt of court and punishable by committal to prison.’
      • ‘In all three cases the conclusion reached was that a deliberate intention to breach the order was not a necessary element for a finding of contempt of court.’
      • ‘At first instance the plaintiff did not seek to make out a case of an attempt to pervert the course of justice or of contempt of court.’
      • ‘The penalty for breach is punishment for contempt of court.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin contemptus, from contemnere (see contemn).

Pronunciation:

contempt

/kənˈtɛm(p)t/