Definitions

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

  • adjective Feeling or showing haughty disdain. synonym: arrogant.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Lofty with pride; haughtily contemptuous; overbearing.
  • Manifesting haughtiness, or proceeding from it; overbearing; arrogant: as, a supercilious air; supercilious behavior.
  • Synonyms Disdainful, contemptuous, overweening, lordly, consequential. See arrogance.

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

  • adjective Lofty with pride; haughty; dictatorial; overbearing; arrogant

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

  • adjective Arrogantly superior; showing contemptuous indifference; haughty.

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

  • adjective having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy
  • adjective expressive of contempt

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin superciliōsus, from supercilium, eyebrow, pride : super-, super- + cilium, lower eyelid; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin superciliōsus ("haughty"), from supercilium ("eyebrow, arrogance").

Examples

  • He seldom deigned to notice me; and, when he did, it was with a certain supercilious insolence of tone and manner, that convinced me he was no gentleman, though it was intended to have a contrary effect.

    Agnes Grey

  • Hence only the supercilious will be the ones who are expectantly offended.

    *SUSAN LOONE's Blog*

  • Hence only the supercilious will be the ones who are expectantly offended.

    *SUSAN LOONE's Blog*

  • I just didn't realize how moving it was and how radical it was to have that stated so clearly in the context of the kind of supercilious cultural milieu of indie rock.

    Be specific: Chad Clark, co-producer of the Dismemberment Plan's "Emergency & I," on how the album might have been very different

  • Mr. Obama strikes Bill Kristol as some kind of "supercilious" Marxist.

    Obama's Touch of Class

  • And regarding this case, Jackson told author Ken Auletta that the court of appeals was "supercilious" and had "made up about 90 percent of the facts on their own," among other potshots.

    It's Still Alive!

  • His whole body and manner cried out that he was a president with a war to fight who didn't want to be bothered trading verbal jabs with the kind of supercilious know-it-all he had loathed since Yale days.

    TALKING THE TALK

  • He spoke with great swiftness, the words tumbling over one another, not with eagerness, but rather with a kind of supercilious carelessness.

    The Cathedral

  • One man with exactly that tone came and said, with a kind of supercilious reverence, "Is it possible that I now flash my optics upon a prophet?"

    By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

  • One man with exactly that tone came and said, with a kind of supercilious reverence, "Is it possible that I now flash my optics upon a prophet?"

    By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

Comments

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  • From MyFavoriteWord.com:

    "I heard this word as a middle-schooler and assumed that it meant that something was supremely silly. I used it that way for years! But it means to look at someone with distain...which I'm sure many people did when I used it inappropriately! What a let-down to know that it means something so un-silly.

    Kate McLean

    September 30, 2007

  • "Holier than thou."

    September 30, 2007

  • What I love about this word is that it derives from the Latin for "eyebrow" (or more literally, "above the eyelid"). You can almost imagine the raised eyebrow of a supercilious person. :-)

    September 30, 2007

  • I can't hear this word without wanting to put the word "twit" after it!

    November 11, 2007

  • supercilious: disdainful.

    superciliar: above the eyebrow.

    January 10, 2008

  • See the second Deuce Bigalow movie. This word was used suitably.

    January 22, 2008

  • gr g 6 Super Jet (USA)-Silvervain(Kenvain) FOALED :28/09/02

    August 14, 2008

  • See my interesting client,

    Victim of a heartless wile!

    See the traitor all defiant

    Wear a supercilious smile!

    Sweetly smiled my client on him,

    Coyly woo'd and gently won him.

    -W.S. Gilbert, 'Trial by Jury'

    August 16, 2008

  • Spotted - nypl archives. Supercilious lizard http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-c72b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

    February 1, 2016