- haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression.
Origin of supercilious
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for superciliously
"I really cannot answer that question," said Ogden, superciliously.One Of Them
Charles James Lever
"Not at all, not at all," said one of the guests, superciliously.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
“I am a gentleman, not a chapman,” (a retail tradesman) said Jack, superciliously.Clare Avery
Emily Sarah Holt
"Our acquaintance was very slight," said Victor superciliously.The Telegraph Boy
Horatio Alger, Jr.
"You are really very kind," answered the Countess superciliously.Caught In The Net
- displaying arrogant pride, scorn, or indifference
Word Origin and History for superciliously
1520s, from Latin superciliosus "haughty, arrogant," from supercilium "haughty demeanor, pride," literally "eyebrow" (via notion of raising the eyebrow to express haughtiness), from super "above" (see super-) + second element akin to cilium "eyelid," related to celare "to cover, hide," from PIE root *kel- "to conceal" (see cell).
Since cilium is more recent than supercilium, the former can be interpreted as a back-formation to the latter .... If indeed derived from the root *kel- 'to hide', we must still assume that a noun *kilium 'eyelid' existed, since the eyelid can 'hide' the eye, whereas the eyebrow does not have such a function. Thus, supercilium may originally have meant 'what is above the cilium'. [Michiel de Vaan, "Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages," Leiden, 2008]