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  • Adj.

supercilious

soo-per-SIL-ee-uhs

Context
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Lana was a supercilious or stuck-up young woman who believed that everyone should cater to her every wish. She behaved in a rude, proud, and supercilious fashion towards her companions by leaving restaurant checks for them alone to pay. Lana’s supercilious, self-centered, and superior airs annoyed so many that she soon was shunned by all of her acquaintances.

Quiz: What does it mean when someone is described as supercilious?

  • She is the most popular person in a group.
  • She is the silent type.
  • She acts as if she were superior to or better than everyone else.

Memory Hook
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Superman's Silly for Us! When I said that I liked Superman, Janie raised her eyebrow in a supercilious way and said to all our friends that Superman is silly for us and walked away, making me feel silly and depressed by her supercilious way of making me look bad.

Examples
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  • There’s also an extended cameo from Ryan Reynolds, an actor whose faintly supercilious good looks have graced innumerable dumb slacker comedies, including 'Van Wilder,' 'Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle' and 'Waiting.' —CNN
  • 'But that was the one time they caught that weirdness about him, where he liked to put people off balance and have this supercilious smile on his face.' —CNN
  • When the report of the sale appeared, certain supercilious people made bold to ask, 'Since when have circus men been picture buyers?' —TIME
  • Even when you really do have an econ 201 exemption to an econ 101 rule, it’s still poor form to be too supercilious about advancing it. —The Economist

Word Ingredients
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super- over, above
cili eyebrow
-ous possessing the nature of

When someone is being supercilious in a conversation, he is raising his “eyebrow over” another in a superior attitude since he thinks he’s better than the person with whom he is conversing.

Word Constellation
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Supercilious