Definition of contemptible in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈtɛm(p)tɪb(ə)l/


Deserving contempt; despicable: a display of contemptible cowardice
More example sentences
  • It is not possible to treat others with respect when we act in a way that says that who they are or what they believe makes them worthless or contemptible as human beings.
  • Either way, the two men represent all that is vile and contemptible about American politics.
  • Alas there is no reason why the most odious, contemptible people might not be able to make the sweetest, most wonderful creations.
despicable, detestable, hateful, reprehensible, deplorable, loathsome, odious, revolting, execrable, unspeakable, heinous, shocking, offensive;
disgraceful, shameful, ignominious, abject, low, mean, cowardly, unworthy, discreditable, pitiful, pitiable, petty, worthless, shabby, cheap, beyond contempt, beyond the pale, sordid, degenerate, base, vile, villainous
archaic scurvy



Pronunciation: /kəntɛm(p)təˈbɪlɪti/


Pronunciation: /kənˈtɛmptəˌbli/
Example sentences
  • She is therefore a victim and thereby relieved of much of her class guilt and no longer hateful, although still contemptibly repressed like all the other toffs.
  • But I have to ask, who the hell would ever utter such stupid, contemptibly moronic assertions?
  • Even the British social history volumes have declared that we have been treated shamefully and contemptibly.


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin contemptibilis, from Latin contemnere (see contemn).

  • In modern English contemptible is still widely used, whereas its root word, contemn, ‘to treat or regard with contempt’, is now rare and restricted to literary contexts. In 1914 the kaiser of Germany supposedly referred to the British army as a contemptible little army, in an order for his troops to ‘walk all over General French's contemptible little army’. In fact the text, which became widely known and resented, appears to have been created by British propaganda. The veterans of the British Expeditionary Force of 1914 later became known as the Old Contemptibles.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|tempt|ible

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