CONTUMACY (Lat. contumacia, obstinacy; derived from the root tem-, as in temnere, to despise, or possibly from the root tum-, as in tumere, to swell, with anger, etc.), a stubborn refusal to obey authority, obstinate resistance; particularly, in law, the wilful contempt of the order or summons of a court (see Contempt of Court). In ecclesiastical law, the contempt of the authority of an ecclesiastical court is dealt with by the issue of a writ de contumace capiendo from the court of chancery at the instance of the judge of the ecclesiastical court; this writ took the place of that de excommunicato capiendo in 1813, by an act of George III. c. 127 (see Excommunication).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)