familiarity breeds contempt

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



familiarity breeds contempt

  1. The more acquainted one becomes with a person, the more one knows about his or her shortcomings and, hence, the easier it is to dislike that person.
    • c. 35 - 100 c.e., Quintillian, The Institutes, Book II:
      “May (the teacher) be strict but not austere, genial but not too familiar: for austerity will make him unpopular, while familiarity breeds contempt.”
    • 1673, Richard Baxter, A Christian Directory, Part II, Chapter X:
      “[S]uffer [your children] not to carry themselves unreverently or contemptuously towards you [parents]; but to keep their distance. For too much familiarity breedeth contempt, and imboldeneth to disobedience.”
    • 1822, William Hazlitt, Table-Talk, ch. 1:
      “For a person to read his own works over with any great delight, he ought first to forget that he ever wrote them. Familiarity naturally breeds contempt.”
    • 1894, H. Rider Haggard, The People Of The Mist, ch. 25:
      This was the beginning of evil, for if no man is a hero to his valet de chambre, much less can he remain a god for long in the eyes of a curious woman. Here, as in other matters, familiarity breeds contempt.