Definition of contempt noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kənˈtempt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈtempt//
    [uncountable, singular]
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  1. 1the feeling that somebody/something is without value and deserves no respect at all She looked at him with contempt. I shall 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. Word Originlate Middle English: from Latin contemptus, from contemnere, from con- (expressing intensive force) + temnere ‘despise’.Extra examples He has a deep contempt for racists. His remarks betray an utter contempt for the truth. His treatment of his children is beneath contempt. Politicians seem to be generally held in contempt by the police. She looked at him with barely disguised contempt. She’d developed what she considered a healthy contempt for authority. He did not want to risk the contempt of his fellows. He felt nothing but contempt for her.Idioms
    familiarity breeds contempt
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    (saying) knowing somebody/something very well may cause you to lose admiration and respect for them/it
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: contempt