contemptible

contemptible adj Contemptible, despicable, pitiable, sorry, scurvy, cheap, beggarly, shabby are comparable when they mean arousing or deserving scorn or disdain.
Contemptible applies to whatever inspires such scorn or disdain for any reason however great or small
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with that property he will never be a contemptible man— Austen

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the one disgraceful, unpardonable, and to all time contemptible action of my life was to allow myself to appeal to society for help and protection— Wilde

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Despicable is a stronger term and frequently implies both keen and scornful, sometimes indignant, disapprobation and a sufficient cause for such a reaction
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the immorality of James's Court was hardly more despicable than the imbecility of his government— J. R. Green

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even excellent science could and did often make despicable morality— Gauss

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Pitiable (see also PITIFUL) implies the inspiring of pity mixed with contempt
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a pitiable show of weakness

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a pitiable attempt at reform

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the resorting to epithets ... is a pitiable display of intellectual impotence— Cohen

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Sorry is often used interchangeably with pitiable without marked loss, but it often distinctively implies contemptible or ridiculous inadequacy, wretchedness, or sordidness
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sorry accommodations for the travelers

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mounted . . . upon a lean, sorry, jackass of a horse— Sterne

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Scurvy implies extreme despicability and meanness and the arousing of disgust as well as scornful contempt
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a scurvy trick

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a scurvy impostor

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what difference betwixt this Rome and ours . . . between that scurvy dumbshow and this pageant sheen . . . ?— Browning

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Cheap often implies contemptibility that results from undue familiarity or accessibility
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had I so lavish of my presence been . . . so stale and cheap to vulgar company— Shak.

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More often, however, cheap and beggarly imply contemptible pettiness, cheap by falling far below the standard of what is worthy, beggarly by its remoteness from what is adequate
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cheap politics

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a cheap and nasty life— Shaw

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about his shelves a beggarly account of empty boxes— Shak.

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the South in 1800 was a land of contrasts, of opulence and squalor . . . fine mansions, beggarly taverns— Brooks

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Shabby comes close to cheap and beggarly in implying contemptible pettiness and to scurvy in implying meanness and the arousing of disgust; distinctively it may stress the poverty, the paltriness, or the ungenerous nature of what is so characterized
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the shabby way in which this country . . . treated a poet so deeply devoted to it— Engle

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the explorer's mistress shows up with the shabby truth of the man's life— Hewes

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Analogous words: detestable, abominable, abhorrent, odious, *hateful: vile, low, *base: abject, *mean, sordid, ignoble
Antonyms: admirable, estimable: formidable
Contrasted words: *splendid, sublime, glorious, superb

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Contemptible — Con*tempt i*ble, a. 1. Worthy of contempt; deserving of scorn or disdain; mean; vile; despicable. Milton. [1913 Webster] The arguments of tyranny are ascontemptible as its force is dreadful. Burke. [1913 Webster] 2. Despised; scorned; neglected;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • contemptible — ⇒CONTEMPTIBLE, adj. Rare. Qui mérite le mépris, méprisable. Une offrande si contemptible (GIDE, Si le grain ne meurt, 1924, p. 611). Rem. Attesté ds Ac. 1798 1878 et, au XXe s., par Nouv. Lar. ill., Lar. 20e, QUILLET 1965. Prononc. et Orth.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • contemptible — contemptible, contemptuous Contemptible in current use means ‘deserving contempt’ • (His defiant and sulky defence of his right to pat bottoms and hump secretaries, or pin women to the wall in sexual passes, is contemptible Independent, 2006)… …   Modern English usage

  • contemptible — CONTEMPTIBLE. adj. v. Vil & mesprisable. Il s est rendu contemptible, c est un homme vil & contemptible. Il vieillit …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • contemptible — I adjective abhorrent, abiectus, abject, abominable, atrocious, base, blameworthy, censurable, condemnable, condemnatory, contemned, contemnendus, contemptus, contumelious, corrupt, culpable, damnable, deplorable, depraved, despicable, despised,… …   Law dictionary

  • contemptible — CONTEMPTIBLE. adj. des 2 gen. Vil et méprisable. Il s est rendu contemptible. C est un homme vil etcontemptible. Il vieillit …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • contemptible — (del lat. «contemptibĭlis»; ant.) adj. Despreciable …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • contemptible — late 14c., from L. contemptibilis worthy of scorn, from contempt , pp. stem of contemnere (see CONTEMPT (Cf. contempt)). Related: Contemptibility; contemptibly …   Etymology dictionary

  • contemptible — [adj] despicable, shameful abhorrent, abject, abominable, bad, base, beggarly, cheap, crass, currish, degenerate, despisable, detestable, dirty, disgusting, hateful, heel, ignoble, ignominious, inferior, low, lowdown*, lowest, mean, odious,… …   New thesaurus

  • contemptible — Contemptible, Contemnendus …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

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