Examples of contemptuous in a Sentence
- He owned a fine Kentucky rifle, with a cherry wood stock, and was contemptuous of the bulky carbines most of the troop had adopted. —Larry McMurtry, Dead Man's Walk, 1995
- In his 1978 Harvard commencement address, Mr. Solzhenitsyn seemed at times contemptuous of American democracy … —Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Times Book Review, 24 Nov. 1991
- He felt familiar enough to indulge in outbursts of rage or contemptuous sarcasm in her presence, and to display the most withering side of his character, lashing out at the people he despised. —Cynthia Ozick, New Yorker, 20 Nov. 1989
loutish tourists who are contemptuous of the ways and traditions of their host countries
contemptuous comments about the baseball team's pathetic showings
Recent Examples of contemptuous from the Web
Of late, though, Masoud Barzani, the Kurdish leader, has proved to be contemptuous of democracy (his mandate expired two years ago), and the fall in oil prices has bankrupted his government.
Zhang’s characters can be invigoratingly, vulgarly contemptuous of their new home.
Mr Pullman’s anticlericalism is not smug or contemptuous
That contemptuous attitude has served Petty well over the decades.
His detractors included the senior non-family executive at the Times, Amory Bradford, who was openly contemptuous of the young man.
There’s a wonderful exchange in the book when Grant as president offers a political appointment to a friend from his prewar days in St. Louis, when he was broke and dependent on his slave-owning (and openly contemptuous) father-in-law.
Alexander is a hostile cipher, a curt, dismissive bully whose contemptuous behavior on their wedding night is a shock to Katherine and to us, as well.
Perhaps most egregiously, Speaker Ali Abdel-Al asserted that judicial rulings on the agreement amounted to nil, a position seen as contemptuous of the judiciary.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contemptuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
Synonymsabhorrent, disdainful, scornful
Antonymsadmiring, applauding, appreciative, approving
Related Wordsbold-faced, brash, brassy, brazen, cheeky, cocky, discourteous, disrespectful, fresh, impertinent, impudent, insolent, sassy, saucy; arrogant, cavalier, highfalutin (also hifalutin), high-handed, high-hat, pretentious, uppish, uppity; haughty, lofty, lordly, prideful, sniffish, snobbish, supercilious; pompous, self-important, superior; catty, cruel, despiteful, hateful, malevolent, malicious, malign, malignant, mean, nasty, spiteful
Near Antonymsdeferential, regardful, respectful; accepting, tolerant; courteous, polite
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