Is there a good word for someone who shows contempt for others? Especially when it's a pattern, and anyone who threatens that person's self esteem is held in contempt?

The first thought that comes to mind is, Person X is a contemptuous person. But the word "contemptuous" is a little unwieldy. If you're trying to sum up this attitude neatly in a single word or phrase, it doesn't seem to suffice.

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    What politeness register are we talking about here? One of the most common way to describe a contemptuous person is to say that person is a "dick". – ghoppe Apr 25 '16 at 18:17
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    Contempt as a form of vindictive behavior is often triggered by wounded pride. – Phil Sweet Apr 25 '16 at 21:57

Equally unwieldy is supercilious

Behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others

Oxford Dictionaries Online


  • condescending
  • haughty
  • imperious
  • prideful
  • sniffy
  • swaggering
  • disdainful
  • lordly
  • overbearing
  • arch
  • patronizing
  • snooty

Would these work : Condescend, deride, belittle

  • Ah, but those are verbs. I'm looking for a noun or adjective. Such as, "contemptuous", "condescending", "belittling", "narcissist". – ktm5124 Apr 25 '16 at 18:02
  • Derider is a person who derides or belittles – Mambo Apr 25 '16 at 18:03

Such a person is a misanthrope.

Wikipedia gives a good definition:

Misanthropy is the general hatred, distrust or contempt of the human species or human nature. A misanthrope or misanthropist is someone who holds such views or feelings. The word's origin is from the Greek words μῖσος (misos, "hatred") and ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos, "man, human"). The condition is often confused with asociality.


I'd suggest,


: having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people : snooty.



: acting unfriendly toward other people because you think you are better than they are.


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