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From Latin contumāx (stubborn, obstinate) +‎ -ious.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌkɒn.tjʊˈmeɪ.ʃəs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌkɑːn.tʊˈmeɪ.ʃəs/, /ˌkɑːn.tjəˈmeɪ.ʃəs/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: con‧tu‧ma‧cious
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃəs


contumacious (comparative more contumacious, superlative most contumacious)

  1. Contemptuous of authority; willfully disobedient; rebellious.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes”, in Henry John Todd, editor, The Poetical Works of John Milton, volume 4, published 1801, page 505:
      [] and, on his conſtancie, ſounds an accuſation to Herod of a contumacious affront, on ſuch a day, before many peers; præpares the king to ſome paſſion, and at laſt, by her daughter’s dancing, effects it.
    • 1837, Thomas Carlyle, chapter IV, in The French Revolution: A History [], volume II (The Constitution), London: Chapman and Hall, →OCLC, book V (Parliament First):
      In all places too are Dissident Priests; whom the Legislative will have to deal with: contumacious individuals, working on that angriest of passions; plotting, enlisting.
    • 1921 [1919], H. L. Mencken, chapter 39, in The American Language, 2nd edition, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 262:
      Its verbs are conjugated in a way that defies all the injunctions of the grammar books; it has its contumacious rules of tense, number and case; []
  2. (law) Willfully disobedient to the summons or orders of a court.


Related terms[edit]