What is a single word in English which means to look down on others (due to their younger age, lower socio-economic position, lesser experience, etc)

Not look down upon everyone else in general, but look down upon some particular person due to a feeling of superiority of oneself over them ( this superiority may come from the fact that one feels has more money, talent, etc)?

By "look down upon" I don't mean just the feeling of having superiority over another, but acting to them in a manner that reflects this pride as well (for example, perhaps he acts very rudely to them, since he feels superior to them and feels he can get away with it, or he feels it doesn't matter at all due to his superiority)

  • I'm finding it hard to come up with a sentence, but perhaps something like this: "Don't ____ the workers too much, they might go on a strike."
    – user13267
    Nov 27, 2014 at 0:19
  • @user13267 How you feel a bout "belittle"? Or any of its synonyms?
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 27, 2014 at 0:35
  • yes belittle feels closer to what I am thinking about than deride
    – user13267
    Nov 27, 2014 at 0:45
  • Google shows disparage as a synonym and it also has a similar meaning to what I am thinking about, but it feels that all these words can be used to describe the act of looking down upon others (or if I understand their meanings correctly, criticize others) based on logical or plausible causes, or as a form of propaganda to just make them look bad. Can these words also be used, when the cause for looking down upon others is mainly one's feeling of self superiority (which may or may not be justified) ?
    – user13267
    Nov 27, 2014 at 0:49

4 Answers 4


You can consider condescend (to sb). If you condescend to somebody, you show feelings of superiority and you can even be patronizing toward that person. So, you actually show it in your actions and this can be called a condescending behavior.

to treat someone as if you are more important or more intelligent than them


Further details from vocabulary.com:

If you are being condescending, you are looking down on someone. A 10-year-old who says to his sibling, "What do you know? You're only a 6-year-old!" is being condescending.

The Latin prefix con- means "with," and the Latin word for descend means "down," so the word condescending probably developed to describe someone who looked down on others. Condescending behavior is, not surprisingly, itself looked down upon. It's usually intended to make people feel bad about not knowing or having something, and it very often works.

Note: There is the pejorative term condescending prick also.

What does 'condescending' exactly mean?

  • Condescend seems to be closer to what I am looking for, but I have a sample sentence here that is confusing me. "The minister condescended to eat with the beggars" does this mean the minister accepted to eat with the beggars, or does it mean he was unhappy and refused, or does it mean he ate with the beggars but wasn't happy about it? (I'd personally guess the first, but it doesn't seem to match with the definition of condescend that I find on Google, or am I misunderstanding it?)
    – user13267
    Nov 27, 2014 at 6:44
  • ok nevermind I just checked your link and I think I should read it first to understand my sample sentence
    – user13267
    Nov 27, 2014 at 6:45
  • In any case, in the linked question "What does 'condescending' exactly mean?" the first sample question seems to be the sense that I am trying to convey
    – user13267
    Nov 27, 2014 at 6:46
  • @user13267: Yes, the word has another sense also but today it is mainly used in a negative sense.
    – ermanen
    Nov 27, 2014 at 6:51
  • 1
    Condescend is not always pejorative. God may condescend to man on account of human weakness. Nov 27, 2014 at 6:54
  • Disdain
  • Scorn

Both mean to look on with contempt (or, in noun form, describe the act of looking on with contempt). (And there is the archaic contemn ) Both also imply a public, unashamed display of contempt (scorn even more so than disdain, I think).

He scorned their banal condolences; they were beneath his dignity.

We disdained him as a traitor and a coward.

  • Also, despise. "He despised the immigrants for their ill-fitting clothes and crude accents." Nov 27, 2014 at 6:56

Were you looking for the verb "To patronize" by any chance, because I have remembered it when reading the answers here and it is what I was looking for.

Patronize | Verb |

Definiton: treat with an apparent kindness which betrays a feeling of superiority.

"‘She's a good-hearted girl,’ he said in a patronizing voice"

Synonyms: treat condescendingly, treat with condescension, condescend to, look down on, talk down to, put down, humiliate, treat like a child, treat as inferior, treat with disdain, treat scornfully/contemptuously, be snobbish to


  • 1
    Hello Victor, where is the definition from? You'll have to include the source.
    – Helmar
    Sep 1, 2017 at 9:32

Supercilious is a word to descend people with think they are superior to others

  • 1
    Sorry, Miss Air; it's almost possible to see what you're asking but the operative word here is "almost" so please, could you re-phrase that at least two or three different ways, for clarity? Apr 7, 2018 at 22:13
  • Use citations in answers, if you please.
    – lbf
    Apr 7, 2018 at 23:17

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