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contemptible

play
adjective con·tempt·ible \kən-ˈtem(p)-tə-bəl\

Simple Definition of contemptible

  • : not worthy of respect or approval : deserving contempt

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of contemptible

  1. 1 :  worthy of contempt

  2. 2 obsolete :  scornful, contemptuous

contemptibility

play \-ˌtem(p)-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

contemptibleness

noun

contemptibly

play \-ˈtem(p)-tə-blē\ adverb

Examples of contemptible in a sentence

  1. I've never met a more selfish, contemptible person.

  2. <the contemptible thieves who stole the Christmas gifts intended for needy children>



What Is the Difference Between contemptuous and contemptible?

Contemptuous and contemptible are sometimes confused with each other. This is neither surprising, as they are similar in appearance, nor is it unprecedented: the words were used interchangeably for several hundred years (from the 16th through the 18th century), with each one meaning both "deserving contempt" and "showing contempt." By the early 19th century, some commentators began raising objections when the words were used synonymously, suggesting that they should be distinguished, with contemptuous meaning only "showing contempt" and contemptible only "deserving contempt."

In the following passage, for example, a would-be critic is ridiculed for using contemptible in the sense "showing contempt":

“Young man! my opinion of you is very contemptible.” “All your opinions are contemptible,” rejoined Phillip, quietly.  – Garry Avenel, Zou Mou, in The Iris, September, 1841

The distinction hinted at in this rebuke has been observed in English, by professional writers anyway, for close to 200 years.

14th Century

First Known Use of contemptible

14th century

Synonym Discussion of contemptible

contemptible, despicable, pitiable, sorry, scurvy mean arousing or deserving scorn. contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of values <a contemptible liar>. despicable may imply utter worthlessness and usually suggests arousing an attitude of moral indignation <a despicable crime>. pitiable applies to what inspires mixed contempt and pity <a pitiable attempt at tragedy>. sorry may stress pitiable inadequacy or may suggest wretchedness or sordidness <this rattletrap is a sorry excuse for a car>. scurvy adds to despicable an implication of arousing disgust <a scurvy crew of hangers-on>.

CONTEMPTIBLE Defined for Kids

contemptible

play
adjective con·tempt·ible \kən-ˈtemp-tə-bəl\

Definition of contemptible for Students

  1. :  deserving or causing a person to be despised <a contemptible criminal> <a contemptible lie>





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