Synonym Chooser

How does the verb contemn differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of contemn are despise, disdain, and scorn. While all these words mean "to regard as unworthy of one's notice or consideration," contemn implies a vehement condemnation of a person or thing as low, vile, feeble, or ignominious.

contemns the image of women promoted by advertisers

When is despise a more appropriate choice than contemn?

While the synonyms despise and contemn are close in meaning, despise may suggest an emotional response ranging from strong dislike to loathing.

despises cowards

When can disdain be used instead of contemn?

The words disdain and contemn can be used in similar contexts, but disdain implies an arrogant or supercilious aversion to what is regarded as unworthy.

disdained popular music

When might scorn be a better fit than contemn?

While in some cases nearly identical to contemn, scorn implies a ready or indignant contempt.

scorns the very thought of retirement


Thesaurus Entries Near contemn

Cite this Entry

“Contemn.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

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