Supercilious refers to an attitude or behavior of excessive pride, arrogance, or haughtiness, often characterized by looking down on others with contempt.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



arrogant, haughty, snobbish, disdainful, conceited, proud, self-important, superior, pompous, lofty.


humble, modest, unassuming, meek, deferential, respectful, courteous, unpretentious.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun superciliousnesses, superciliousness
Verb None
Adjective supercilious
Adverb superciliously

Example Sentences

  • The supercilious waiter made us feel unwelcome with his disdainful attitude and condescending tone.

  • I can’t stand his supercilious behavior, always looking down his nose at anyone who doesn’t meet his standards.

  • She had a supercilious expression on her face as if she believed herself to be superior to everyone else in the room.

  • The judge’s supercilious comments towards the defendant made it clear that he already had a biased opinion before the trial even began.


Supercilious is a frequently used adjective in both formal and informal English language. The word originated in the 16th century from the Latin word ‘supercilium,’ which meant ‘eyebrow.’ The expression ‘raise an eyebrow’ came to symbolize a superior attitude in some circumstances. Therefore, supercilious referred to a person with raised eyebrows who looked down on others. Today, this connotation has evolved, and the term usually refers to someone with an attitude of superiority, often resulting from overconfidence, ignorance, or a sense of entitlement.

There are several variations of the word supercilious, including superciliously, which is the adverb form, and superciliousness, which is the noun form. The word can also be used in various forms such as ‘superciliously,’ which means taking or expressing superiority in a proud or dismissive manner. Similarly, ‘superciliousness’ can be used to describe a behavior or a quality of being supercilious.

Additionally, the prefix ‘super’ in supercilious implies excess, over, or beyond, while the suffix -ious means ‘full of or having the nature of.’ So, supercilious means excessively full of oneself or pretentious, having an exaggerated belief in one’s superiority or importance. Often, people with a supercilious attitude display behavior that is patronizing, dismissive, or contemptuous.

In conclusion, supercilious is a powerful word that connotes arrogance, condescension, and haughtiness in a person’s behavior or attitude. It is essential to use this word carefully and appropriately in our language as it can easily offend or create a negative perception towards people.