Share this entry
contemptuous Line breaks: con|temp¦tu|ous
Pronunciation: /kənˈtɛm(p)tʃʊəs/

Definition of contemptuous in English:


Showing contempt; scornful: she was intolerant and contemptuous of the majority of the human race
More example sentences
  • Has any country ever had a more arrogant, insolent, contemptuous leader than we have?
  • The problem lies in a deeply disrespectful, even contemptuous, attitude towards women.
  • They should be made to pay for their contemptuous and arrogant behaviour.
scornful, disdainful, disrespectful, insulting, insolent, full of contempt;
derisory, derisive, mocking, sneering, jeering, scoffing, taunting, withering, scathing, snide;
condescending, supercilious, arrogant, cavalier, high and mighty, imperious, proud, vain
informal sniffy, snotty, on one's high horse
archaic contumelious


Pronunciation: /kənˈtɛmptʃʊəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • This apolitical predisposition to mock precisely the kinds of people who'll actually pay to watch this kind of film is the height of contemptuousness.
  • Their contemptuousness colors the debate anyway, especially in the press.
  • First, women should try to present their complaints in a calm way: Research shows that men are more likely to listen if their partners tone down hostility and avoid contemptuousness.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'despising law and order'): from medieval Latin contemptuosus, from Latin contemptus 'contempt', from contemnere (see contemn).

Definition of contemptuous in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources