The patronizing "we"
The patronizing we is used sometimes
in place of "you" to address a second
party, hinting a facetious assurance
that the one asked is not alone in his
situation, that "I am with you, we are
in this together". A doctor may ask a
patient: And how are we feeling today?
This usage is emotionally non-neutral
and usually bears a condescending,
ironic, praising, or some other
flavor, depending on intonation:
"Aren't we looking cute?"
A nosism is the use of 'we' to refer to oneself.
A common example is the royal we
(Pluralis Majestatis), which is a
nosism employed by a person of high
office, such as a monarch, earl or
pope. It is also used in certain
formal contexts by bishops and
university rectors. The expression was
first used in 1169 when English King
Henry II (d. 1189), hard pressed by
his barons over the investiture
controversy, assumed the common theory
of "divine right of kings," that the
monarch acted conjointly with the
deity. Hence, he used "we" as "God and
I...," or so the legend goes. (See
Rolls Series, 2.12)