contemn was our Word of the Day on 08/20/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of contemn in a sentence
arrogant critics who contemn the general public's taste in art
Did You Know?
Contemn is derived from the Latin verb contemnere, a word formed by combining con- and temnere ("to despise"). Surprisingly, our verb may have come within a hair's breadth of being spelled "contempn." The Middle French word contempner arrived in Middle English as "contempnen," but that extra "p" disappeared, leaving us with "contemn." You may be wondering about the connection between "contemn" and "contempt," and not surprisingly, they are related. "Contempt" comes from Latin contemptus, which comes from "contemnere." "Contemn" first turned up in print in the 15th century; "contempt" dates from the 14th century.
Origin and Etymology of contemn
Middle English contempnen, from Medieval French contempner, from Latin contemnere, from com- + temnere to despise
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of contemn
Seen and Heard
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