con·​tu·​ma·​cious ˌkän-tü-ˈmā-shəs How to pronounce contumacious (audio)
: stubbornly disobedient : rebellious
She was warned that her contumacious conduct would not be tolerated.
contumaciously adverb

Did you know?

Legal contexts are one area where you might encounter this fancy word for "rebellious" or "insubordinate" - and the link between contumacious and the law goes back to Latin. The Latin adjective contumax means "rebellious," or, in specific cases, "showing contempt of court." Contumacious is related to contumely, meaning "harsh language or treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt." Both contumacious and contumely are thought to ultimately come from the Latin verb tumēre, meaning "to swell" or "to be proud."

Examples of contumacious in a Sentence

the judge threatened to charge the contumacious witness with contempt of court

Word History


see contumacy

First Known Use

1583, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contumacious was in 1583


Dictionary Entries Near contumacious

Cite this Entry

“Contumacious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

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