Reserve the noun contempt for an extreme lack of respect: a food snob has nothing but contempt for mass-produced burgers and fries at a fast-food joint.

Contempt has nothing to do with the verb condemn, despite the similarity in sound and meaning; it is from Latin temnere "to despise," and if you despise someone, you have contempt for them. It's a harsh term and should be used with care; it's stronger than either disdain or scorn. It suggests you find someone or something utterly worthless. That food snob might say the words "Big Mac" or "Whopper" with a voice dripping in contempt.

Definitions of contempt
  1. noun
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    “he was held in contempt
    synonyms: despite, disdain, scorn
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    type of:
    a feeling of aversion or antipathy
  2. noun
    open disrespect for a person or thing
    synonyms: scorn
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    contempt expressed by mockery in looks or words
    leer, sneer
    a facial expression of contempt or scorn; the upper lip curls
    a contemptuous or scornful remark
    type of:
    discourtesy, disrespect
    an expression of lack of respect
  3. noun
    a manner that is generally disrespectful and contemptuous
    synonyms: disrespect
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    type of:
    discourtesy, rudeness
    a manner that is rude and insulting
  4. noun
    a willful disobedience to or disrespect for the authority of a court or legislative body
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    contempt of Congress
    deliberate obstruction of the operation of the federal legislative branch
    contempt of court
    disrespect for the rules of a court of law
    civil contempt
    a failure to follow a court order that benefits someone else
    criminal contempt
    an act of disrespect that impedes the administration of justice
    type of:
    disobedience, noncompliance
    the failure to obey
Word Family

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