I'm afraid I have to surprise everyone, including myself. That is, I never would have dreamed that contempt has contemporary validity as a verb. Nevertheless, contrary to all expectation, the Oxford English Dictionary does in fact give it as a verb and provides examples.
contempt. transitive. To regard or treat (a person or thing) with contempt; to scorn. Also: to show contemptuous disregard for (a command, order, etc.); (Law) to be in contempt of (a court of law, etc.). Cf. contemn v.
a1555 S. Gardiner in H. Ellis, Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. (1827): "I wylbe ware to geve any man cause to contempte me."
1651 J. Price, Musgrave Muzl'd: "Contempting all Orders made for her."
1702 in Cal. State Papers: Colonial Ser.: Amer. & W. Indies (1912): "The Governor issued out his precept to George Larkin commanding him to confine himself to his lodging, which he contempted."
1902 Let. Jan. in Cornhill Mag. June (1906): "This English war party (as well as the English officers and soldiers in Transvaal) are contempted by the whole civilised world."
2013 EKantipur.com (Nepal) (Nexis) 5 Sept.: "According to legal provision, any person found contempting the court would be jailed for up to 10 years."
We are all right, and the Merriam-Webster is, too, to say that the verbal usage is archaic inasmuch as that usage is today quite rare and exceptional. For all practical purposes, its use as a verb has all but dropped away and has been supplanted by noun phrases. Surprisingly, it is not quite dead yet. A zombie.
Someone who knows his or her way around corpora might be able to look into its frequency of occurrence.