Contumely is an old-fashioned term that means "nasty, insulting speech," like the contumely heaped on the opposing team by a home team's fans.

Don't be led astray by that -ly ending: contumely is a noun, not an adverb. Use contumely when you need an impressive (if obscure) way to say "contemptuous language" or "offensive behavior." You might stop a bully in his tracks by shouting, "I don't have to put up with this contumely!" Experts believe this word comes from the Latin contumax, "haughty or insolent."

Definitions of contumely
  1. noun
    a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
    synonyms: abuse, insult, revilement, vilification
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    low blow
    unscrupulous abuse
    billingsgate, scurrility
    foul-mouthed or obscene abuse
    cut, stinger
    a remark capable of wounding mentally
    invective, vitriol, vituperation
    abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will
    type of:
    discourtesy, disrespect
    an expression of lack of respect
Word Family

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