1. willful refusal to appear before a court or comply with a court order
; can result in a finding of contempt of court
2. obstinate rebelliousness and insubordination
; resistance to authority
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Contumacy \Con"tu*ma*cy\ (k[o^]n"t[-u]*m[.a]*s[y^]), n.; pl.
Contumacies (k[o^]n"t[-u]*m[.a]*s[i^]z). [L. contumacia,
fr. contumax, -acis, insolent; prob. akin to contemnere to
despise: cf. F. contumace. Cf. Contemn.]
1. Stubborn perverseness; pertinacious resistance to
The bishop commanded him . . . to be thrust into the
stocks for his manifest and manifold contumacy.
2. (Law) A willful contempt of, and disobedience to, any
lawful summons, or to the rules and orders of court, as a
refusal to appear in court when legally summoned.
Syn: Stubbornness; perverseness; obstinacy.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: willful refusal to appear before a court or comply with a
court order; can result in a finding of contempt of court
2: obstinate rebelliousness and insubordination; resistance to
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
CONTUMACY, civil law. The refusal or neglect of a party accused to appear
and answer to a charge preferred against him in a court of justice. This
word is derived from the Latin contumacia, disobedience. 1 Bro. Civ. Law,
455; Ayl. Parer. 196; Dig. 50, 17, 52; Code Nap. art. 22.
2. Contumacy is of two kinds, actual and presumed: actual contumacy is
when the party before the court refuses to obey some order of the court;
presumed contumacy is the act of refusing or declining to appear upon being
cited. 3 Curt. Ecc. R. 1.