One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural contumeliesmass nounarchaic
Insolent or insulting language or treatment.‘the Church should not be exposed to gossip and contumely’
abuse, insults, slurs, aspersions, derision, invective, slander, defamation, denigration, disparagement, opprobrium, obloquy, vituperation, vilificationView synonyms
- ‘One finds in Wolcot's mock-epic a shower of contumely constantly trained upon epic.’
- ‘And why - if they have actually talked to the police and prosecuting authorities - do they dismiss their ‘scepticism’ with such contumely?’
- ‘They helped us understand what we were up against: the proud man's contumely, the insolence of office.’
- ‘You're never going to please everybody, but my feeling is there seems to have been less contumely than might have been expected, because we have taken people with us.’
- ‘Nursing her injuries by keeping ‘herself in a state of intoxication,’ Lucy heaped contumely on Peter, their children, and neighbors.’
Late Middle English: from Old French contumelie, from Latin contumelia, perhaps from con- ‘with’ + tumere ‘to swell’.
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