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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce contempt (audio)

Dictionary definition of contempt

A feeling of strong disdain or disrespect for someone or something that is seen as being unworthy or inferior.
"The protesters held placards expressing their contempt for the government's policies."

Detailed meaning of contempt

It can also describe an attitude or behavior that shows a lack of respect or regard for someone or something. For example, a person who holds someone else in contempt might show this through their words, actions, or body language, and might speak or behave in a way that is meant to belittle or disrespect the other person. A person who feels contempt for something might express their feelings through their words or actions, and might show a lack of respect or regard for that thing. The term is often used to describe a strong or intense feeling of disrespect or disdain for someone or something.

Example sentences containing contempt

1. He spoke with contempt towards his political opponents.
2. The judge showed contempt towards the defendant's actions.
3. She had contempt for anyone who didn't share her values.
4. The employee's contempt for his job was obvious to everyone.
5. He had contempt for people who were not intelligent.
6. The politician's contempt for the media was well-known.

History and etymology of contempt

The noun 'contempt' has its etymological roots in Latin. It is derived from the Latin word 'contemptus,' which is formed by combining 'con' (with) and 'temptus,' the past participle of 'temptare' (to try or test). In Latin, 'contemptus' originally referred to the act of despising or looking down upon something or someone who was perceived as unworthy or inferior. Over time, this term was adopted into English as 'contempt,' retaining its core meaning of a feeling of strong disdain or disrespect for someone or something that is considered beneath consideration or regard. The etymology of 'contempt' effectively conveys the concept of a strong and negative judgment, emphasizing the idea of looking down upon or rejecting what is deemed unworthy or inferior.

Quiz: Find the meaning of contempt

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Further usage examples of contempt

1. She had contempt for those who were not willing to work hard.
2. The citizens had contempt for the corrupt government officials.
3. He had contempt for anyone who didn't have the same level of wealth as him.
4. She had contempt for anyone who didn't have the same level of education as her.
5. She gave a look of utter contempt at the rowdy boys at the back of the classroom.
6. She has a vicious contempt for people who abuse animals.
7. The defendent was found in contempt of court for showing up intoxicated.
8. His actions were met with contempt by his colleagues.
9. The dictator was held in contempt by the people he oppressed.
10. The judge showed contempt for the defendant's lies.
11. The spokesperson for the company expressed contempt for the allegations made against them.
12. The teacher had contempt for students who did not try their best.
13. The politician's statement was met with contempt by the opposition party.
14. The artist's work was met with contempt by the art critics.
15. He spoke with contempt about his ex-partner.



disdain, admiration, respect, esteem


ACT 15 (American College Testing), Vilification and Vitriol, Disapproval and Disrespect

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