View synonyms for condescension


[ kon-duh-sen-shuhn ]


  1. an act or instance of condescending. condescending.
  2. behavior that is patronizing or condescending. condescending.
  3. voluntary assumption of equality with a person regarded as inferior.

Discover More

Other Words From

  • con·de·scen·sive [kon-d, uh, -, sen, -siv], adjective
  • conde·scensive·ly adverb
  • noncon·de·scension noun

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of condescension1

First recorded in 1635–45, condescension is from the Late Latin word condēscēnsiōn- (stem of condēscēnsiō ). See con-, descension

Discover More

Example Sentences

In the ’90s, nobody had to endure the peculiar combination of condescension, contempt and she-looks-so-thin-I-just-hope-she’s-okay concern trolling that Apple did.

Scandinavian Americans are now part of the cultural mainstream, but in the 19th century, Scandinavian farmers struggling to make a living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas were regarded with condescension by the New England cultural elite.

From Time

I may be overstepping myself with this hunch, but I see two confident, highly intelligent people — you, the eminent scientist — who have detection systems that react strongly to condescension.

The answer, dripping with condescension, was “if you put 100 labradoodles in a room together, you’d be lucky if two of them looked alike.”

From Time

His smirky condescension is pure sexist gaslighting, yet Vivian can’t yet see it for what it is.

From Time

The irony is that the president, with smug condescension, is quick to attack others for being out of touch with reality.

President Kennedy smiled without a hint of condescension and extended a hand to Douglas that was at once firm and remarkably soft.

The men in The Group behave with glibness, condescension, and even brutality toward the Vassar grads.

Ironically, their claims of condescension are condescending themselves.

Obama can exhibit strains of personal diffidence, even condescension, toward people, especially critics.

The duke was in the highest animation, and he talked to every one round him, as we marched along, with more than condescension.

A loud laugh greeted this remark, and Billy, smiling with condescension, said he was gratified by their approval.

There was a slight, almost indescribable tone of condescension or disparagement in her voice, the reason of which I will explain.

Her overtures of familiarity and service was unskilfully made; her very timidity construed into labored condescension.

The act had condescension in it; yet, too, something unconsciously simple and primitive.


Discover More

More About Condescension

What does condescension mean?

Condescension is a way of interacting with others 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.

Condescension often involves not only what is said but also how it’s said. A tone of condescension is often one that sounds like it’s directed at a child.

Condescension is a noun form of the verb condescend, which most commonly means to behave in this way. When used this way, condescend, condescension, and the adjective condescending are always negative and imply that such behavior is insulting to the person or people it’s directed toward.

Condescend can also mean to stoop to a lower level or to do something that one considers as below one’s dignity. A close synonym of this sense of the word is deign. Condescension can also mean the act of doing so.

Example: His opinion piece is dripping with condescension—it’s written as if no one else is capable of understanding.

Where does condescension come from?

The first records of the word condescension come from the 1600s. It derives from a term closely related to the Late Latin verb condēscendere, which means “to stoop” and derives from the Latin dēscendere, “to descend.”

Condescension always involves stooping or descending to the level of those considered inferior. A person who condescends to another usually isn’t outright insulting them. Instead, they’re speaking as if the person they’re addressing doesn’t have the ability to understand their supposedly superior intelligence. Most commonly, condescension takes the form of a person intentionally attempting to display this supposed superiority through their tone.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to condescension?

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

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

How is condescension used in real life?

The word condescension is usually used negatively to imply rudeness or disrespect.



Try using condescension!

Is condescension used correctly in the following sentence?

The thinly veiled condescension in his speech was extremely off-putting.