having or showing a feeling of superiority that is expressed in an overbearing manner


US English

UK English

Part of speech



haughty, arrogant, condescending, patronizing, disdainful, snobbish


humble, modest, unassuming, respectful, deferential, gracious

Example sentences

  • The supercilious sales associate treated her customers as if they were inferior.
  • The young man’s supercilious attitude turned off many potential friends.
  • The supercilious tone of the professor’s lecture left the students feeling discouraged.


The word “supercilious” is used to describe someone who has a feeling of superiority and expresses it in a way that is overbearing or dismissive of others. This can manifest in a variety of ways, such as through a haughty demeanor, a condescending tone, or a patronizing attitude. People who are described as supercilious are often perceived as arrogant and unapproachable, which can make it difficult for them to connect with others.

The origins of the word “supercilious” can be traced back to the Latin word “supercilium,” which means “eyebrow.” Over time, the word evolved to describe a person’s facial expression that conveyed a sense of haughtiness or disdain. Today, “supercilious” is widely used to describe a wide range of behaviors that demonstrate a lack of respect or consideration for others.

In general, it’s important to be mindful of how we treat others and to avoid coming across as supercilious. A little bit of humility and respect can go a long way in building positive relationships and fostering a sense of community