familiarity breeds contempt

Cf. ST. AUGUSTINE Scala Paradisi 8 (Migne 40, col. 1001) vulgare proverbium est, quod nimia familiaritas parit contemptum, it is a common proverb, that too much familiarity breeds contempt.

c 1386 CHAUCER Tale of Melibee 1. 1685 Men seyn that ‘over-greet hoomlynesse [familiarity] engendreth dispreisynge’.

1539 R. TAVERNER Garden of Wisdom II. 4v Hys specyall frendes counsailled him to beware, least his ouermuche familiaritie myght breade him contempte.

1654 T. FULLER Comment on Ruth 176 With base and sordid natures familiarity breeds contempt.

1869 TROLLOPE He knew He was Right II. lvi. Perhaps, if I heard Tennyson talking every day, I shouldn’t read Tennyson. Familiarity does breed contempt.

1928 D. H. LAWRENCE Phoenix II (1968) 598 We say..Familiarity breeds contempt... That is only partly true. It has taken some races of men thousands of years to become contemptuous of the moon.

2002 Washington Times 12 Jan. All What’s that saying about familiarity breeding contempt? By now, [Daniel] Snyder doesn’t seem to think much of any of them.


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  • familiarity breeds contempt — phrase used for saying that you can stop respecting someone or something when you know them very well Thesaurus: disrespect and not showing respectsynonym Main entry: familiarity * * * proverb extensive knowledge of or close association with… …   Useful english dictionary

  • familiarity breeds contempt — This means that the more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • familiarity breeds contempt — ► familiarity breeds contempt proverb extensive knowledge of or close association with someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it. Main Entry: ↑familiar …   English terms dictionary

  • familiarity breeds contempt — a friend may dislike you if you do not respect his or her privacy    Don t call Margaret Maggie. Remember, familiarity breeds contempt …   English idioms

  • Familiarity breeds contempt. — something that you say which means if you know someone very well or experience something a lot, you stop respecting them. You two are going to find it difficult living and working together. Familiarity breeds contempt, you know …   New idioms dictionary

  • familiarity breeds contempt — close acquaintance causes lack of respect …   English contemporary dictionary

  • familiarity breeds contempt —    This means that the more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • familiarity breeds contempt — used for saying that you can stop respecting someone or something when you know them very well …   English dictionary

  • Familiarity breeds contempt —   This means that the more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them …   Dictionary of English idioms

  • familiarity — [[t]fəmɪliæ̱rɪti[/t]] PHRASE: V inflects Familiarity is used especially in the expression familiarity breeds contempt to say that if you know a person or situation very well, you can easily lose respect for that person or become careless in that… …   English dictionary

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