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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.

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.


One accused of a crime who refuses to appear and answer to the charge. An outlaw.