showing contempt; scornful.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



disdainful, derisive, insulting, disrespectful, sneering, disparaging, insolent, haughty, contemptible.


respectful, deferential, admiring, praising, laudatory, complimentary, courteous, polite, civil.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun contemptuousnesses, contempts, contempt, contemptuousness
Verb None
Adjective contemptuous
Adverb contemptuously

Example Sentences

  • The way she talked about her coworkers was so contemptuous that nobody wanted to work with her.

  • His expression was cold, almost contemptuous, as he looked down at me.

  • The politician’s speech was filled with contemptuous remarks about his opponents.

  • I could tell by his tone of voice that he was being contemptuous of my ideas.


The word ‘contemptuous’ is an adjective that is commonly used to describe someone or something that is showing contempt or disdain towards someone else. It is derived from the Latin word ‘contemptus’, which means ’to despise’. It can be used in a variety of contexts, ranging from personal relationships to professional settings.

The word ‘contemptuous’ can also be used as a prefix, suffix or in different variations to add emphasis or to make the word more specific to a particular context. For example, the prefix ‘dis’ can be added to form the word ‘discontemptuous’, which means ‘showing even greater disrespect or disdain’.

The word ‘contemptuous’ is often used to describe a negative attitude or tone towards someone or something. It is typically used in situations where someone is being rude, dismissive or insulting towards another person. This could be in a personal or professional context, such as in a workplace where colleagues are being rude or dismissive towards one another.

Additionally, ‘contemptuous’ can also be used to describe an overall feeling of disrespect or disdain towards someone or something. For example, one might have a contemptuous attitude towards a certain group of people or towards a specific idea or concept.

In conclusion, ‘contemptuous’ is a versatile word that is commonly used to describe negative attitudes or behaviors. While it can be used in a variety of contexts, it is typically used to describe situations where someone is being dismissive, insulting or disrespectful towards someone else. Understanding the nuances and variations of the word can help to use it correctly in the appropriate context.