Trending: contempt,’ ‘held in contempt

Lookups spiked 14,800% on May 8, 2019

Why are people looking up the words contempt and held in contempt?

Held in contempt was our main course on May 8th, 2019, served with a side dish of unadorned contempt, following reports that Attorney General William Barr was viewed to be worthy of this, at least according to the House Judiciary Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report and underlying evidence from public view.
— Nicholas Fandos, The New York Times, 8 May 2019

What do the words contempt and held in contempt mean?

We define held in contempt as a legal term: “considered by the court to have broken the law by disobeying or disrespecting the judge.” Contempt, without the holding, may be defined as “the act of despising,” “lack of respect or reverence for something,” or “willful disobedience to or open disrespect of a court, judge, or legislative body.”

Where do the words contempt and held in contempt come from?

Contempt has been in use in English since the 14th century, and may be traced back to the Latin com- + temnere (“to despise”).


Although held in contempt is now primarily encountered in the realm of law, it has been used over the centuries in non-judicial fashion.

Chrisippus also sayth, that looue is the bond of fréendship, and ought not to be helde in contempt: for that beauty is the flowre of vertue.
— Anthony Munday, Zelauto, 1580

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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