con·​de·​scen·​sion | \ ˌkän-di-ˈsen(t)-shən How to pronounce condescension (audio) \

Definition of condescension

1 : patronizing attitude or behavior scoffing condescension by the "we know better than you" people— A. J. Anderson
2 : voluntary descent from one's rank or dignity in relations with an inferior

Examples of condescension in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An enduring condescension of our politics is that the voting preferences of minorities, especially black Americans, are monolithic and unchanging. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Can Trump Earn Black Support?," 15 Jan. 2020 For a government trying to dispel an image of being a bunch of smug, entitled private-school types sleepwalking into national crisis, Rees-Mogg’s air of condescension and disdain has not been helpful., "LONDON — Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of Britain’s House of Commons and a prominent ally of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, suggested this week that victims of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire lacked the common sense to defy firefighters’ orders and flee the building, costing them their lives.," 6 Nov. 2019 Gustav wrote a letter to his fiancée that raises hackles today for its condescension toward a female artist. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, "It Had to Be Her," 7 Jan. 2020 The three men were in the early days of planning what would come to be the nominally egalitarian, vegetarian commune Fruitlands, but their condescension toward women was keenly felt by Abigail. Sarah Blackwood, The New Yorker, "“Little Women” and the Marmee Problem," 24 Dec. 2019 Leveraging sexist condescension to her advantage continued to be integral to her career. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Debbie Harry Stares Back," 12 Oct. 2019 She is not distracted by rhetoric, straw-man arguments, personal abuse, or by condescension or appeals to economic theory. Peter Ellerton, Quartz, "How to talk about climate change like Greta Thunberg," 12 Dec. 2019 Blackface, and minstrelsy, the performance tradition that featured it, bear a freight of white condescension and contempt. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 26 Sep. 2019 The filmmakers urge us to look at them with condescension. Armond White, National Review, "Dolemite Is My Name Honors a Surprising Cultural Pioneer," 8 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'condescension.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of condescension

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for condescension

Late Latin condescension-, condescensio, from condescendere — see condescend

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Time Traveler for condescension

Time Traveler

The first known use of condescension was in 1647

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Statistics for condescension

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Condescension.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce condescension (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of condescension

: the attitude or behavior of people who believe they are more intelligent or better than other people

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