haugh·​ty ˈhȯ-tē How to pronounce haughty (audio)
haughtier; haughtiest
: blatantly and disdainfully proud : having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior
haughty aristocrats
haughty young beauty … never deigned to notice usHerman Melville
haughtily adverb
haughtiness noun

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The Connotations of Haughty

Someone who is haughty looks down on others—and that position high above everyone else is present in the word's etymology. Haughty traces back to the Anglo-French halt or haut, which means literally "high."

The word has strong negative connotations. Someone who is described as "haughty" is proud in the worst way. This is not the pride a parent feels for a child who's worked hard at something, and it's not the pride a marathoner feels for completing a race. The word haughty communicates a kind of pride that is obviously full of contempt for others deemed inferior or unworthy.

The word is not applied only to people. Haughty often modifies nouns like glare, look, appearance, and attitude.

Choose the Right Synonym for haughty

proud, arrogant, haughty, lordly, insolent, overbearing, supercilious, disdainful mean showing scorn for inferiors.

proud may suggest an assumed superiority or loftiness.

too proud to take charity

arrogant implies a claiming for oneself of more consideration or importance than is warranted.

a conceited and arrogant executive

haughty suggests a consciousness of superior birth or position.

a haughty aristocrat

lordly implies pomposity or an arrogant display of power.

a lordly condescension

insolent implies contemptuous haughtiness.

ignored by an insolent waiter

overbearing suggests a tyrannical manner or an intolerable insolence.

an overbearing supervisor

supercilious implies a cool, patronizing haughtiness.

an aloof and supercilious manner

disdainful suggests a more active and openly scornful superciliousness.

disdainful of their social inferiors

Examples of haughty in a Sentence

He rejected their offer with a tone of haughty disdain. the haughty waiter smirked when I remarked that it was odd that a French restaurant didn't even have french fries on the menu
Recent Examples on the Web Striker romps and bounds like an athlete; Wasabi moves with haughty indifference, his tiny legs obscured by his cascading hair. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, 12 May 2023 As the oldest of Allison and Carlos' three children, Ortega brings nuance to the familiar haughty teen role. Declan Gallagher, EW.com, 10 May 2023 Roth’s relationships with Norma Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver) — the estate’s haughty, shrewish, horny heiress — and Maya Core (Quintessa Swindell), her estranged, mixed-race grandniece whom Roth is instructed to train and educate, are preposterously contrived. Armond White, National Review, 24 May 2023 The movie then slows down to give a shattered Fabietto room to experience everything around him anew, which is when his interest in cinema becomes more than watching his wannabe-actor brother audition for Fellini’s new film, or his mother invoke Franco Zeffirelli to prank a haughty neighbor. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2021 The photo is beautifully composed—the youth’s slim torso, the light on his face, the young woman’s crisp and haughty profile—but what curiously engages us is the pine-tree air freshener on the rearview mirror. Joy Williams, The New Yorker, 5 Aug. 2022 Hoel wore her silvery-gray hair in a tight bun that revealed a haughty face. Amos Zeeberg (discover Web Editor), Discover Magazine, 15 July 2010 Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her haughty stepmother. Charlotte Walsh, Peoplemag, 3 May 2023 How else to explain that Rover, the name of vehicles that were all but unsellable a generation ago, is swimming in investment today while haughty Jaguar finds itself on a short leash? Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 29 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'haughty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


obsolete haught, from Middle English haute, from Anglo-French halt, haut, literally, high, from Latin altus — more at old

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of haughty was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near haughty

Cite this Entry

“Haughty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haughty. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


haugh·​ty ˈhȯt-ē How to pronounce haughty (audio)
haughtier; haughtiest
: rudely proud in a manner that expresses scorn for others : arrogant
ˈhȯt-ə-lē How to pronounce haughty (audio)
haughtiness noun

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