The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Contemn \Con*temn"\ (k[o^]n*t[e^]m"), v. t. [imp. & p. p.
Contemned (-t[e^]md); p. pr. & vb. n. Contemning
(-t[e^]m"n[i^]ng or -t[e^]m"[i^]ng).] [L. contemnere,
-temptum; con- + temnere to slight, despise: cf. OF.
To view or treat with contempt, as mean and despicable; to
reject with disdain; to despise; to scorn.
Thy pompous delicacies I contemn. --Milton.
One who contemned divine and human laws. --Dryden.
Syn: To despise; scorn; disdain; spurn; slight; neglect;
Usage: To Contemn, Despise, Scorn, Disdain. Contemn
is the generic term, and is applied especially to
objects, qualities, etc., which are deemed
contemptible, and but rarely to individuals; to
despise is to regard or treat as mean, unbecoming, or
worthless; to scorn is stronger, expressing a quick,
indignant contempt; disdain is still stronger,
denoting either unwarrantable pride and haughtiness or
an abhorrence of what is base.