Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal.


Feeling or showing haughty disdain. See Synonyms at arrogant.

[Latin superciliōsus, from supercilium, eyebrow, pride : super-, super- + cilium, lower eyelid; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]

su′per·cil′i·ous·ly adv.
su′per·cil′i·ous·ness n.
Word History: The English word supercilious ultimately derives from the Latin word supercilium, "eyebrow." Supercilium came to mean "the eyebrow as used in frowning and expressing sternness, gravity, or haughtiness." From there it developed the senses "stern looks, severity, haughty demeanor, pride." The derived Latin adjective superciliōsus meant "full of stern or disapproving looks, censorious, haughty, disdainful," as it has since it entered English as supercilious in the 1500s. The super- in the Latin word supercilium means "above," and cilium was the Latin word for "eyelid." In many of the Romance languages, this word developed into the word for "eyelash." This development is probably reflected in the scientific use in English of the word cilium, whose plural is cilia. Cilia are the minute hairlike appendages of cells or unicellular organisms that move in unison in order to bring about the movement of the cell or of the surrounding medium.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.superciliously - with a sneer; in an uncomplimentary sneering manner; "`I don't believe in these customs,' he said sneeringly"
بِتَشامُخ، باحْتِقار
meî hroka
kibirli bir şekilde


[ˌsuːpəˈsɪlɪəslɪ] ADV (pej) → con desdén, desdeñosamente


[ˌsuːpəˈsɪlɪəslɪ] adv (frm) → altezzosamente, sprezzantemente


(suːpəˈsiliəs) adjective
contemptuous or disdainful. a supercilious look.
ˌsuperˈciliously adverb
ˌsuperˈciliousness noun
References in classic literature ?
The prime bullies and braves among the free trappers had each his circle of novices, from among the captain's band; mere greenhorns, men unused to Indian life; mangeurs de lard, or pork-eaters; as such new-comers are superciliously called by the veterans of the wilderness.
I cannot agree with the painters who claim superciliously that the layman can understand nothing of painting, and that he can best show his appreciation of their works by silence and a cheque-book.
She proceeded to explain the pictures to him, superciliously but not without insight, and showed him what the painters had attempted and what he must look for.
Madame Defarge looked superciliously at the client, and nodded in confirmation.
She took no notice of me until she had the candle in her hand, when she looked over her shoulder, superciliously saying, "You are to come this way today," and took me to quite another part of the house.
The Jew leaving Rotherwood,'' said he, raising himself on his elbow, and looking superciliously at him without quitting his pallet,
Childers, superciliously throwing the interpretation over his shoulder, and accompanying it with a shake of his long hair - which all shook at once.
There's a measure in all things," Luzhin went on superciliously.
So," said I superciliously, "lead us then to Twala.
Neither does the proposal engage in 'cherry picking' or 'deceptive advertising,' as it was superciliously asserted.
The inveterate Islamophobe Daniel Pipes declared superciliously that Islam is the culprit and lamented politicians in the West for "feel[ing] compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, in part out of concern that to recognise it would cause even more problems".
On one page a beetle walks across an ancient volume of Voltaire, and on the next an old woman reads in a bed with curtains that enclose her like the leaves of a book; a beret-clad farmer sits with his newspaper on a bench in a livestock market, as a large cow looks superciliously over his shoulder, while on the next page a street vendor slumbers over a paper in a chair on the street as a passerby, whose gaze mirrors that of the cow, looks at the papers on sale.