from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Displaying a patronizingly superior attitude.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Marked or characterized by condescension; stooping to the level of one's inferiors.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective exhibiting an attitude of superiority; patronizing; -- used of behavior or attitude.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Assuming a tone of superiority, or a patronizing attitude.
  • verb Present participle of condescend.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective (used of behavior or attitude) characteristic of those who treat others with condescension


Sorry, no etymologies found.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • My boss uses this word when he's describing himself. But he always seems a bit proud of it. I find it very creepy.

    August 15, 2007

  • Some useful phrases here. Mainly applicable to the working environment I think.

    December 18, 2007

  • I had an English teacher who made a distinction between condescending and patronizing. She claimed that patronizing derived from patron, like a sponsor or an aristocratic "patron of the arts". From there she said that a person who is patronizing intends to be helpful, since a patron is a helpful position, whereas someone who is condescending is much more malicious. Not sure if I buy it though.

    February 29, 2012