Condescending – Definition, Meaning & Use In A Sentence

22.09.23 Definitions Time to read: 3min

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Many people regularly search for the definitions of different words, terms, and phrases in English. However, while some of these words are commonly used, some individuals are not aware of their true origins and use them only because they are fashionable. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the word “condescending”, including its origins and correct spelling.

Definition of “condescending”

The term “condescending” refers to an attitude or manner of behaving that implies a sense of superiority over others. When somaeone is condescending, they act as if they are more knowledgeable, skilled, or worthy than those around them, often belittling or demeaning others in the process. The word generally carries a negative connotation, as condescending behaviour is usually considered disrespectful and patronizing.

Use of “condescending” in a sentence

The word “condescending” operates primarily as an adjective. It modifies a noun and describes somebody’s tone or behaviour. Usually, it follows after a form of “to be” when describing the tone or manner of a person.


  • He was condescending.
  • They are often condescending to new employees.
  • Her tone sounded condescending.

How to spell “condescending” correctly

“Condescending” is often misspelled as “condecending”, “condesending”, or “condisending”. The reason so many people misspell the word is because of its word length and kind of complex syllabic structure. Moreover, the nuances in its pronunciation make it hard to know how to spell the word. The only correct way of spelling the Latin word is “condescending” and consists of two parts:

  • “Con-” – meaning “together with” or “completely”
  • “-descendere” – meaning “to descend” or “to come down”

Correct spelling




Wrong spelling




Synonyms for “condescending”

Incorporating synonyms of the word “condescending” can be helpful in communication, as they provide alternative words with similar meanings, as well as add diversity and subtlety to your language. Additionally, using synonyms can improve your writing or conversation by avoiding repetition. Below you’ll find four synonyms for the word “condescending” along with examples.

Synonym Examples
Disdainful Her condescending glance made it clear she had no respect for our opinions.
Her disdainful glance made it clear she had no respect for our opinions.
Haughty She had a condescending demeanor that made people feel inferior.
She had a haughty demeanor that made people feel inferior.
Patronizing His condescending remarks made me feel like a child.
His patronizing remarks made me feel like a child.
Snobbish His condescending attitude was off-putting to his co-workers.
His snobbish attitude was off-putting to his co-workers.


“Condescending” means behaving in a way that shows you think you are superior to others, often demeaning or belittling them in the process. It usually carries a negative connotation.

An example of a condescending tone might be when somaeone says, “Well, I’m glad you finally understand, it’s not that hard”, after explaining something. This tone implies that the speaker believes the other person should have understood the concept much sooner and suggests a sense of superiority on the part of the speaker.

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, “patronizing” often has a subtler, more insidious quality, pretending to be kind or helpful while still looking down on somaeone. “Condescending”, on the other hand, is often more overt and direct in its display of a superior attitude.

The term “non-condescending” refers to a manner or attitude that is free from condescension, meaning that it doesn’t display a sense of superiority, demean, or belittle others. When somaeone is non-condescending, they treat others with respect and equality, regardless of their social status, education level, or other factors that might otherwise be considered “inferior”. This term implies a positive, respectful interaction that values the dignity and worth of all involved parties.

A synonym for ”condescending manner” could be “patronizing attitude”. Both phrases describe a way of interacting with others that implies a sense of superiority and often demeans or belittles the other person.

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