Condescending refers to the act of behaving in a superior and disdainful manner towards someone, particularly by patronizing them or making them feel inferior.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Patronizing, superior, snobbish, haughty, disdainful, contemptuous, insulting, derogatory, belittling, demeaning.


Humble, respectful, modest, deferential, courteous, polite, considerate, kind, generous, empathetic.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun condescension, condescendingnesses, condescensions, condescendingness
Verb condescending, condescend, condescends, condescended
Adjective condescending
Adverb condescendingly

Example Sentences

  • The CEO’s condescending attitude towards his employees made them feel undervalued and demotivated.

  • Danielle was offended by her parents’ condescending tone when they spoke to her about her career choices.

  • The teacher’s condescending remarks towards the struggling student only worsened his self-esteem issues.

  • The politician’s condescending behavior towards his constituents caused a lot of resentment amongst the voters.


The word ‘condescending’ is often used to describe behavior or language that is belittling, demeaning, or patronizing. It is derived from Latin ‘condescendere’, which means ’to stoop down’. The ‘con-’ prefix implies an act of leaning down or bringing oneself down, while the ‘-descending’ suffix denotes the act of lowering oneself to a subordinate position. The word ‘condescending’ can be used in various contexts to describe behaviors, attitudes, or statements that show a lack of respect or consideration for others.

Some common variations of condescending include condescension, condescendingly, and condescend. The noun form, condescension, refers to the act of behaving with condescension or patronizing attitude. For instance, “The manager showed great condescension towards the new employees.” The adverb, condescendingly, indicates the manner in which someone behaves or speaks when they are being condescending. For example, “She spoke condescendingly to her assistant when he made a mistake.” The verb form, condescend, is the act of behaving in a condescending manner. For example, “He condescended to explain the basic principles of the business to his team as if they were all ignorant.”

One of the most negative connotations of condescending behavior is that it is often accompanied by an air of superiority or arrogance. This behavior can be hurtful and demeaning, causing those on the receiving end to feel belittled or undervalued. For example, a teacher who speaks to their students in a condescending manner may cause the students to feel inadequate or unintelligent. The same goes for a boss who speaks condescendingly to their subordinates. It can also cause resentment and anger towards the person who is being condescending, causing them to be perceived in a negative light.

In conclusion, the word ‘condescending’ is a powerful word that is often used to describe bad behavior or attitudes. It is important to recognize it when it occurs in order to avoid hurting people’s feelings and maintain positive relationships. It can be modified with various prefixes, suffixes, and other variations to convey different meanings in different contexts.