American English

Definition of contempt noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [uncountable, singular]
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  1. 1the feeling that someone or something is without value and deserves no respect at all She looked at him with contempt. I will treat that suggestion with the contempt it deserves. His treatment of his children is beneath contempt (= so unacceptable that it is not even worth feeling contempt for). Politicians seem to be generally held in contempt by ordinary people. contempt for somebody/something They had shown a contempt for the values she thought important.
  2. 2contempt for something a lack of worry or fear about rules, danger, etc. The firefighters showed a contempt for their own safety. His remarks betray a staggering contempt for the truth (= are completely false).
  3. 3= contempt of court He could be jailed for two years for contempt. She was held in contempt for refusing to testify.
  4. Idioms
    familiarity breeds contempt (saying)
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    knowing someone or something very well may cause you to lose admiration and respect for them/it
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: contempt