"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Monday, 8 June 2009

Vilified with contumelious language

I am reading some of Montaigne's Essays at the moment. They were written in the late 1500s and the translation I am using has stuck fairly closely to the English equivalent language of the time. I came across the wonderful phrase - "vilified with most bitter and contumelious language". It sounds like what our politicians do to each other all the time.

To vilify is to malign someone; to make malicious and abusive statements about somebody.

Contumelious meant expressing scorn; having or showing an insulting, scornful, or contemptuous attitude.

Whilst vilify is still in occasional use the word contumelious has, sadly, died out.


  1. What with all the contumelious adjectives in political discourse we could have a resurgence.

  2. I can't even pronounce contumelious never mind use it.