Merriam-Webster defines Contempt as:

: a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval

: a lack of respect for or fear of something that is usually respected or feared

Contempt is a primary emotion that is the opposite paired emotion to Submission. Since it is a primary emotion, it is comprised of the two basic emotions, Disgust and Anger.

A person feels Contempt towards other people and their behavior, when through comparison, neither the people nor their behavior has met a standard considered important by that person. Judgment is the important aspect of Contempt, and the other people are considered undeserving of respect and less in some way – lower in stature or status, less powerful, less moral or ethical, etc. This disapproval creates a distance or a sense of withdrawal between the person expressing Contempt and other people.

Contempt is best demonstrated through tightened facial expressions, with lips raised on one side of the face. In addition, the person may raise their chin and look down their nose at the other, while rolling their eyes and using a sarcastic tone of voice.

Professor John Gottman has shown through his studies of marital relationships, that of the four signs of distress – defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism and contempt – Contempt is the most damaging and destructive, because of the belittling nature of the associated physical and emotional feelings.

The artist for the Caricature series shows Contempt in the sketch through two faces back-to- back, colored red in anger, expressing their Contempt for the other. Their lips are tightened and pulled up on one side in the classic representation of Contempt.

The emotion Contempt in the Caricature series of sketches

The emotion Contempt in the Caricature series of sketches

The artist for Watercolors shows Contempt in the sketch through a human face that shows the lips pulled up only on one side. Even though the rest of the face, including the eyes, are not displayed, yet the expression of contempt and disapproval is clearly visible.

The emotion Contempt in the Watercolor series of sketches

The emotion Contempt in the Watercolor series of sketches