Definition of condescending
: showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others
condescendinglyplay \ˌkän-di-ˈsen-diŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples of condescending in a Sentence
The next big sequel to roll off the assembly line (awful, condescending phrase, but this is a case of what you have to do when the shoe fits) is going to be a sequel to “Rebecca,” Daphne du Maurier's classic 1930's suspense novel. —Stephen King, New York Times Book Review, 6 June 1993
… when the picturesque was seen close up, the “happy poverty” of the peasant was not always happy. There was something unpleasantly condescending, an element of esthetic slumming in the tourist's or the artist's view of picturesqueness. —Anatole Broyard, New York Times Book Review, 1 Oct. 1989
I always imagined publishers were rather snarky and condescending and made a point of crabbing one's work, but he didn't a bit. —Elizabeth Bowen, letter, 19 Jan. 1923
His comments were offensive and condescending to us.
Recent Examples of condescending from the Web
The new rules have sparked a debate among current and former players and commentators, with critics saying the dress code is unnecessary and condescending, while supporters contend the changes were needed to clarify the existing dress code.
Talking about weight loss when a patient is in your examining room seeking care—especially for an acute condition—is insulting and condescending.
This leads to a number of awkward scenes between Holland and Robert Downey Jr., with Stark inserting himself as a condescending father figure.
Will Shakespeare (Laurie Davidson) struggles to break through while dealing with condescending colleagues, money troubles, religious intrigue and family obligations.
Now, being 17 myself, the condescending conclusion that teenagers don’t read this kind of intriguing, nuanced journalism stings on its own.
Frank and Sophie clash over his mistreatment of Minnie, his apparent disdain for blacks and his condescending attitude toward Nicodemus.
Vote against him where needed, but sound less condescending.
The Merchant Law Firm requested the recordings to try and show that Superior Court Judge David Emerson had improperly addressed defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant in a condescending manner.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'condescending.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
What Is the Difference Between condescending and patronizing?
Very few words in English have exactly the same meaning; even words which appear to be entirely synonymous often will be found to have small differences in certain contexts. The words condescending and patronizing present a fine example of this. At first glance these words appear to be defined somewhat circularly: condescending often has the word "patronizing" in its definition, and patronize is defined, in part, as “to adopt an air of condescension toward.”
But both of these words have specialized senses that lend a shade of meaning to their synonymous senses. Patronizing can mean "giving support to" or "being a customer of," suggesting that the "condescending" sense implies superiority gained through a donor-dependent relationship.
The verb condescend used to be free of any hint of the offensive superiority it usually suggests today. It could mean literally "to go or come down" or, figuratively, "to willingly lower oneself to another’s level," senses that are still occasionally encountered in writings on the Bible. The idea of self-consciously lowering oneself is implied in the "patronizing" sense of condescending.
CONDESCENDING Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of condescending for English Language Learners
: showing that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people
Seen and Heard
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