Beneath Contempt

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Meaning of Idiom 'Beneath Contempt'

To be beneath contempt is to be so utterly contemptible as to be unworthy of attention, even negative attention. When we say someone is beneath contempt, we are saying that they are not even worthy of notice. The idiom can be applied to people or things.

Usage

This idiom holds some irony as to use it violates its intention! However, as it is most commonly used as a more emphatic way of saying contemptable.

"The man's behavior was beneath contempt."

"The council's recommendation is so immoral as to be beneath contempt."

"He has no moral code. He is utterly beneath contempt."

"The book is beneath contempt and should just be ignored."

Origin

In use since at least the late 1800's. Here, beneath is used in a derogatory sense to mean inferior or unworthy. The idiom alludes to something that is so base as to be unworthy of even contempt. To understand this idiom, think of something that is trodden upon, not out of malice but because it is not even noticed.

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