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From Old French contumelieus, from Latin contumēliōsus (insulting; abusive), from contumēlia (affront, abuse, insult).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌkɒn.tjʊˈmiː.li.əs/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌkɑn.tʊˈmiː.li.əs/, /ˌkɑn.tjuˈmiː.li.əs/


contumelious (comparative more contumelious, superlative most contumelious)

  1. (archaic, literary) Rudely contemptuous; showing contumely; exhibiting an insolent or disdainful attitude.
    • a. 1699, William Bates, The Danger of Prosperity, 1815, The Whole Works of the Rev. W. Bates, Volume 2, page 262,
      To sin against his law, is an high affront to his majesty; but to sin against his love and benefits is more contumelious to him.
    • 1784, William Russell, The History of Modern Europe, in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to His Son, Volume 5, 1822, New Edition, page 104,
      Such, and more contumelious, was the language of opposition in parliament, and of the pretended patriots in their private meetings, during the whole administration of sir Robert Walpole, who understood and pursued the true interests of his country, but, perhaps, without sufficiently attending to its honour.
    • 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes
      The pad would not stay on Modestine’s back for half a moment. I returned it to its maker, with whom I had so contumelious a passage that the street outside was crowded from wall to wall with gossips looking on and listening.


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