Simple Definition of contempt
: a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval
: a lack of respect for or fear of something that is usually respected or feared
law : speech or behavior that does not show proper respect to a court or judge
Examples of contempt
There, in the tall grass and the jungle, many would fall and the rest would return home to endure the sullen contempt of their fellow citizens, all to no purpose. —A. J. Bacevich, Commonweal, 12 Sept. 1997
I even read a mild contempt into this first-name business, comparable to the old habit of calling men Mac, Ace, Chief, or Buddy, or calling women Honey, Sweetie, or Doll. —Aristides, American Scholar, Summer 1996
The same contempt for the poor that suggests kids are better off in orphanages will mobilize resistance to the orphanages themselves. —Katha Pollitt, Nation, 12 Dec. 1994
… they looked with contempt at the bloodless gray arthritic hands of the old woman … —Alice Walker, In Love & Trouble, 1973
He feels that wealthy people view him with contempt because he is poor.
He spoke with contempt in his voice.
She has displayed a profound contempt for her opponents.
She was arrested for contempt of court.
Origin of contempt
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin contemptus, from contemnere (see contemn)
First Known Use: 14th century
CONTEMPT Defined for Kids
Definition of contempt
1 : a feeling of disrespect or disapproval of something or someone <It amused him that she pretended such contempt for him and yet condescended to show off … — Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain>
2 : the state of being despised <He holds them in contempt.>
3 : lack of proper respect for a judge or court <He was fined for contempt of court.>
Seen and Heard
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