Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless; scorn.
  • n. The state of being despised or dishonored; disgrace.
  • n. Open disrespect or willful disobedience of the authority of a court of law or legislative body.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of contemning; the feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless; scorn, disdain.
  • n. The state of being despised or dishonored; disgrace.
  • n. Open disrespect or willful disobedience of the authority of a court of law or legislative body.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of contemning or despising; the feeling with which one regards that which is esteemed mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn.
  • n. The state of being despised; disgrace; shame.
  • n. An act or expression denoting contempt.
  • n. Disobedience of the rules, orders, or process of a court of justice, or of rules or orders of a legislative body; disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent language or behavior in presence of a court, tending to disturb its proceedings, or impair the respect due to its authority.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of despising; the feeling caused by what is considered to be mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn for what is mean.
  • n. The state of being despised; shame; disgrace.
  • n. In law, disobedience to, or open disrespect of, the rules, orders, or process of a court or of a legislative assembly, or a disturbance or interruption of its proceedings: called in full, when used in relation to judicial authority, contempt of court.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. open disrespect for a person or thing
  • n. a manner that is generally disrespectful and contemptuous
  • n. lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
  • n. a willful disobedience to or disrespect for the authority of a court or legislative body

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin contemptus, past participle of contemnere, to despise; see contemn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin contemptus ("scorn"), from contemnere ("to scorn, despise"), from com- + temnere ("to despise"). (Wiktionary)

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