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[kon-duh-sen-ding] /ˌkɒn dəˈsɛn dɪŋ/
showing or implying a usually patronizing descent from dignity or superiority:
They resented the older neighbors' condescending cordiality.
Origin of condescending
1630-40; condescend + -ing2
Related forms
condescendingly, adverb
noncondescending, adjective
noncondescendingly, adverb
noncondescendingness, noun
uncondescending, adjective
uncondescendingly, adverb
patronizing, disdainful, supercilious.


[kon-duh-send] /ˌkɒn dəˈsɛnd/
verb (used without object)
to behave as if one is conscious of descending from a superior position, rank, or dignity.
to stoop or deign to do something:
He would not condescend to misrepresent the facts.
to put aside one's dignity or superiority voluntarily and assume equality with one regarded as inferior:
He condescended to their intellectual level in order to be understood.
  1. to yield.
  2. to assent.
1300-50; Middle English condescenden < Late Latin condēscendere (see con-, descend); replacing Middle English condescendre < Middle French
Related forms
condescender, condescendent, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for condescending
  • Try to not even think it, so that you don't come across as arrogant or condescending.
  • People's response to our separateness can be callous, can be good-hearted, and is always condescending.
  • Also, it is true that it would be a better, more rational world if speakers weren't condescending and mean.
  • What's more, his portrayal of working people is never stereotypical or condescending.
  • It's a rare feat to be both naive and condescending, but, seriously.
  • Tibetans don't feel represented by this government they perceive as foreign and arrogantly condescending.
  • It is an entirely different thing to have the condescending opinions of others loudly announced on every corner of the street.
  • We didn't want to write something that was condescending or glib.
  • Most refreshing is the way he embraces the character without condescending to it.
  • Popular media often depicts physicians as brilliant, intimidating, and condescending in equal measures.
British Dictionary definitions for condescending


showing or implying condescension by stooping to the level of one's inferiors, esp in a patronizing way
Derived Forms
condescendingly, adverb


verb (intransitive)
to act graciously towards another or others regarded as being on a lower level; behave patronizingly
to do something that one regards as below one's dignity
Word Origin
C14: from Church Latin condēscendere to stoop, condescend, from Latin dēscendere to descend
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for condescending

1707, present participle adjective from condescend. Originally in a positive sense (of God, the Savior, etc.) until late 18c. Related: Condescendingly (1650s).



mid-14c., "to yield deferentially," from Old French condescendere (14c.) "to agree, consent, give in, yield," from Late Latin condescendere "to let oneself down," from Latin com- "together" (see com-) + descendere "descend" (see descend). Sense of "to sink willingly to equal terms with inferiors" is from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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