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supercilious

[soo-per-sil-ee-uh s]
See more synonyms for supercilious on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression.
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Origin of supercilious

From the Latin word superciliōsus, dating back to 1520–30. See supercilium, -ous
Related formssu·per·cil·i·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·cil·i·ous·ness, nounun·su·per·cil·i·ous, adjectiveun·su·per·cil·i·ous·ly, adverbun·su·per·cil·i·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms

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arrogant, scornful.

Antonyms

humble.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for superciliously

Historical Examples

  • "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

    Emile Gaboriau


British Dictionary definitions for superciliously

supercilious

adjective
  1. displaying arrogant pride, scorn, or indifference
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Derived Formssuperciliously, adverbsuperciliousness, noun

Word Origin

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 superciliously

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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper