Definition of contumacious
: stubbornly disobedient : rebellious <She was warned that her contumacious conduct would not be tolerated.>
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."
Origin and Etymology of contumacious
First Known Use: 1583
Seen and Heard
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