View synonyms for condescending


[ kon-duh-sen-ding ]


  1. showing or implying a usually patronizing descent from dignity or superiority:

    They resented the older neighbors' condescending cordiality.

    Synonyms: patronizing, supercilious, disdainful

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Other Words From

  • conde·scending·ly adverb
  • noncon·de·scending adjective
  • noncon·de·scending·ly adverb
  • noncon·de·scending·ness noun
  • uncon·de·scending adjective
  • uncon·de·scending·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of condescending1

First recorded in 1630–40; condescend + -ing 2
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Compare Meanings

How does condescending compare to similar and commonly confused words? Explore the most common comparisons:

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Example Sentences

The requests that are like, “Oh this is quick and easy,” are super condescending.

From Digiday

He doesn’t just give you these dramatic, monologic scenes of grandstanding and proselytizing, he also does so alongside his personalized smug condescending version of the narrative — in this case, his version of the historical narrative.

From Vox

Claire thought the attacks on her husband were unfair and even condescending.

After nearly two decades in baseball front offices, Ng had become accustomed to the condescending glances, outright hostility and attempts at intimidation that come with being the only woman in the room.

From Time

During the meeting, teachers should do an extra check-in, in a friendly, non-condescending way.

Although Huckabee's condescending tone - like that of an elementary school history teacher - makes it difficult to take seriously.

The document said Wright was condescending and had “resorted to name-calling,” though no examples were offered.

Dovlatov hated Soviet oppression and battled repression subtly, by not condescending to notice it, and keeping things light.

Thorns support is for everyone, and there are no pastel colors or condescending cursive.

The idea that the Church needs a separate theology for women is plain condescending.

He likes a man to speak out his mind like a man, which you know is very condescending on his part.

The aggravating smile of condescending wisdom kept playing about his lips.

The Covenant of Sinai was confirmed in a manner the most encouraging, as well as condescending and glorious.

In other circles Mrs. Errington was by no means so cool and condescending in speaking of the doctor's projected party.

I hate him—I hate him as much as I loathe myself for ever condescending to follow him.


Related Words

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More About Condescending

What does condescending mean?

To be condescending is to interact with others in a way that implies that you’re superior to them. It especially refers to when this is done in an arrogant or patronizing way—meaning when you act as if you’re doing someone a favor by supposedly lowering yourself to their level of understanding or intelligence.

Condescending is always used negatively and implies that such behavior is insulting to the person or people it’s directed toward.

The word can be used to describe a person, their actions, or their words. It’s especially applied to words like comment, tone, and attitude. Being condescending often involves not only what is said, but also how it’s said. A condescending tone is often one that sounds like it’s directed at a child.

Condescending is most commonly used as an adjective, but it’s also the continuous tense (-ing form) of the verb condescend, which most commonly means to act in this way. The act of doing so is called condescension.

Example: You don’t have to be so condescending by explaining it to me with small words—I understand the topic just fine.

Where does condescending come from?

The first records of the word condescending as an adjective come from the 1600s. The verb condescend is recorded much earlier, in the 1300s. They both derive from the Late Latin condēscendere, which means “to stoop” and comes from the Latin dēscendere, “to descend.”

Being condescending always involves stooping or descending to the level of those whom the condescending person considers inferior. A person who’s considered condescending usually isn’t outright insulting someone. Instead, they’re speaking as if the person they’re addressing doesn’t have the ability to understand their supposedly superior intelligence.

Condescending and patronizing are often used as synonyms, but they can have slightly different shades of meaning. A person described as patronizing may simply be telling someone what they think they want to hear. But more often than not, someone who’s described as condescending is intentionally trying to display their supposed superiority through their tone.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to condescending?

  • condescendingly (adverb)
  • uncondescending (adjective)
  • condescend (verb)

What are some synonyms for condescending?

What are some words that share a root or word element with condescending

What are some words that often get used in discussing condescending?

How is condescending used in real life?

Condescending is always used negatively to imply rudeness or disrespect. It’s especially used to describe someone’s tone when speaking.



Try using condescending!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym for condescending?

A. snooty
B. modest
C. arrogant
D. patronizing