Definition of contumely in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒntjuːmɪli/

noun (plural contumelies)

[mass noun] archaic
Insolent or insulting language or treatment: the Church should not be exposed to gossip and contumely
More example sentences
  • They helped us understand what we were up against: the proud man's contumely, the insolence of office.
  • You're never going to please everybody, but my feeling is there seems to have been less contumely than might have been expected, because we have taken people with us.
  • And why - if they have actually talked to the police and prosecuting authorities - do they dismiss their ‘scepticism’ with such contumely?
insolence, rudeness, impertinence, discourtesy
informal mud-slinging, bad-mouthing, bitchiness
archaic malapertness, billingsgate


Late Middle English: from Old French contumelie, from Latin contumelia, perhaps from con- 'with' + tumere 'to swell'.

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