Definition of contumacious
: stubbornly disobedient : rebellious She was warned that her contumacious conduct would not be tolerated.
contumacious was our Word of the Day on 09/10/2011. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of contumacious in a Sentence
the judge threatened to charge the contumacious witness with contempt of court
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."
Seen and Heard
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