Essential Meaning of contempt
1 : a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval He feels that wealthy people view/regard him with contempt because he is poor. He spoke with contempt in his voice. See More ExamplesShe has contempt for them. = She holds them in contempt. She has displayed a profound contempt for her opponents.
2 : a lack of respect for or fear of something that is usually respected or feared They have acted with contempt for public safety. [=they have completely ignored public safety] He has a contempt for danger. [=he ignores danger; he is not afraid of doing things that other people are afraid to do]
3 law : speech or behavior that does not show proper respect to a court or judge She was arrested for contempt of court. He was held in contempt [=considered by the court to have broken the law by disobeying or disrespecting the judge] for his outbursts during the trial.
Full Definition of contempt
b : lack of respect or reverence for something acting with contempt for public safety
2 : the state of being despised
3 : willful disobedience to or open disrespect of a court, judge, or legislative body contempt of court
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
Words at Play
Ask the Editors