supercilious

[ soo-per-sil-ee-uhs ]
/ ˌsu pərˈsɪl i əs /

adjective

haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression.

Origin of supercilious

From the Latin word superciliōsus, dating back to 1520–30. See supercilium, -ous
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for supercilious

British Dictionary definitions for supercilious

supercilious

/ (ˌsuːpəˈsɪlɪəs) /

adjective

displaying arrogant pride, scorn, or indifference
Derived Formssuperciliously, adverbsuperciliousness, noun

Word Origin for supercilious

C16: from Latin superciliōsus, from supercilium eyebrow; see superciliary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for supercilious

supercilious


adj.

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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper