Definition of condescend in English:



  • 1 Show that one feels superior; be patronizing.

    ‘take care not to condescend to your reader’
    • ‘Even when she tries to encourage her kids, she does little more than condescend to them or brush them off.’
    • ‘The poet can't therefore presume to condescend to him, because he and his peers have guarded the very bourgeois freedoms that enable his son to be a weighty thinker.’
    • ‘That it also boasts fluid, intuitive gameplay, and does not condescend to the audience by making the fighting too simple or automatic, is miraculous.’
    • ‘Yet Williams doesn't condescend to his viewers.’
    • ‘I'm glad to see a movie that doesn't condescend to its young girl characters, send them to the prom or make them want to take off their glasses for a boy.’
    • ‘What they cannot accept is the fact that they currently have a Government that thinks it can condescend to Maori and give them a special preference when they do not need it.’
    • ‘At dinner in a ghetto restaurant, where Bigger is known, neither Mary nor Jan realizes the extent to which they at once condescend to Bigger and violate his sensitivities.’
    • ‘She still made history as the first woman to ever lead the race, although ABC did its best to condescend to both her gender and its audience by continually cutting away to reactions shots of Patrick's mother.’
    • ‘She knows better finally than the adults around her - significantly those who would condescend to her - the authentic ground of human respect and impartial justice.’
    • ‘I'm inexperienced, not stupid, so don't condescend to me, okay?’
    • ‘I think there's a tendency in American art to really condescend to children, and make sure that the message is laid on thickly.’
    • ‘Like Jennifer Tilly, Brad doesn't condescend to the material, as many actors might; he treats the character very seriously.’
    • ‘The well-intentioned results condescend to both artists and businesspeople while shedding no light on either world.’
    • ‘He knew that as long as there was studio financing, any film he made for the black community would have to condescend to whites.’
    • ‘Because, simply, the producers of media for young people can't patronise or condescend to their audience.’
    • ‘Kids demand shows that are smart and have lots of action and they remember if you condescend to them.’
    • ‘The presence on an arts board of the occasional, often atypical artist from a minority does not do much for the community, other than condescend to him or her.’
    • ‘Don't condescend to them - that's why they're not coming!’
    • ‘‘Fox reporters almost never condescend to viewers,’ he observes.’
    • ‘We expect our television to debase us, empty us, and condescend to us.’
    patronize, treat condescendingly, speak condescendingly to, speak haughtily to, talk down to, look down one's nose at, look down on, put down, be snobbish to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with infinitive]Do something in such a way as to emphasize that one clearly regards it as below one's dignity or level of importance.
      ‘he condescended to see me at my hotel’
      • ‘Because of Soong's outstanding vote record in the 2000 presidential election, both he and his party members feel wronged by his having to condescend to accepting the vice presidential seat.’
      • ‘He condescended to send something which had already appeared somewhere else.’
      • ‘Students will condescend to read only about those things they think they already know; they don't want new things.’
      • ‘Are the good folk of Peebles really going to vote for him because he condescended to spend 50 minutes in their midst?’
      • ‘'Condescend, sir! but I will not condescend to be so conversed with.' Montoni smiled contemptuously.’
      deign, stoop, descend, lower oneself, humble oneself, demean oneself, debase oneself, vouchsafe, think fit, see fit, deem it worthy of oneself, consent
      View synonyms


Middle English (in the sense ‘give way, defer’): from Old French condescendre, from ecclesiastical Latin condescendere, from con- together + descendere descend.