This question looks like a mirror of a question I asked hours ago,

A TOEFL textbook gives me this verb, saying


"Their synonyms" are "stoop, design" ( according to a text )

According to Merriam Unabridged Online,

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Yes, 2 would be used "according to a text" in common, if I guess.

But the definition of 3,

To assume an air of superiority ( as to one inferior or less fortunate )

Does it comes from, "lower oneself in social rank or designation etc, or descend from the status quo to the lower ( inferior ) rank so that the person looks to assume an air of superiority?

I have never been quizzed by a dictionary so much today :)

Thank you.

  • Are you sure the synonyms are stoop and design and not rather deign? – loonquawl Jul 11 '18 at 5:11
  • Sorry...deign... – Kentaro Jul 11 '18 at 6:09

Just consider condescending look: "I'm taking kindly to you even though I am so much superior to you." Clever, sure.

Condescend is a doubled-edged sword. I am asserting my superiority indirectly when I step down a level by claiming that I am doing it as a favor.

Both the contemporary dictionary meanings apply. In fact, it's a combo package in actual use.

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It's kind of the other way around. If you condescend somebody, you're "above them" (in terms of money, age, job title, etc.), and you're looking down at them to make them feel bad about the position they're in.

Hope this helps!

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... assume an air of superiority (as to one inferior...

. The crux is in the as. One sense of the word (2.) is lowering oneself, the other (3.) is making a show of lowering oneself when in reality one is at the same level as everyone else, thereby implying that everyone else is of lower standing than oneself.

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