noun con·tempt \kən-ˈtem(p)t\

: a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval

: a lack of respect for or fear of something that is usually respected or feared

law : speech or behavior that does not show proper respect to a court or judge

Full Definition of CONTEMPT

a :  the act of despising :  the state of mind of one who despises :  disdain
b :  lack of respect or reverence for something
:  the state of being despised
:  willful disobedience to or open disrespect of a court, judge, or legislative body <contempt of court>

Examples of CONTEMPT

  1. There, in the tall grass and the jungle, many would fall and the rest would return home to endure the sullen contempt of their fellow citizens, all to no purpose. —A. J. Bacevich, Commonweal, 12 Sept. 1997

Origin of CONTEMPT

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin contemptus, from contemnere (see contemn)
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with CONTEMPT

CONTEMPT Defined for Kids


noun con·tempt \kən-ˈtempt\

Definition of CONTEMPT for Kids

:  a feeling of disrespect or disapproval of something or someone <It amused him that she pretended such contempt for him and yet condescended to show off … — Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain>
:  the state of being despised <He holds them in contempt.>
:  lack of proper respect for a judge or court <He was fined for contempt of court.>
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