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.


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  • 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