Condescending Definition Example Essays

  • Some critics mocked the 46-year-old Canadian for cultural condescension, while others accused him of sartorial excess and political correctness gone too far.

    —dan bilefsky, New York Times, "Can a Canadian Carry Off Bollywood Style? Justin Trudeau Finds Out.,"23 Feb. 2018

  • The play ultimately tells a moving story from flyover country, and playwright Hunter has won praise from critics for steering clear of condescension and cheap satire in creating it.

    —greg crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Plan your weekend: Eisenhower Dance, a romantic cabaret show and laughs from Bob Saget,"7 Feb. 2018

  • Educator Terezita Romo offers a scholarly take on the condescension too often shown artists of color by museums and academics.

    —charisse jones, USA TODAY, "Women of color 'Sing' proudly in new essay collection,"5 Feb. 2018

  • Barbee’s condescension toward African Americans knew few limits.

    —kate masur, Smithsonian, "How One Amateur Historian Brought Us the Stories of African-Americans Who Knew Abraham Lincoln,"20 Feb. 2018

  • And in other hands, Legere’s handouts of cash and gear could come across as plutocratic condescension.

    —aaron pressman, Fortune, "Inside T-Mobile's Big, Brash Comeback,"15 Feb. 2018

  • Presenting them in production numbers designed as celebrations of brotherhood is Condon’s own, obvious condescension.

    —armond white, National Review, "The Greatest Showman,"19 Jan. 2018

  • Perhaps worst of all, the whole thing has an air of oily condescension.

    —jack holmes, Esquire, "Why Are So Many White Male Republicans Afraid of Weed?,"9 Jan. 2018

  • Every word is carefully chosen, articulated with force and precision, but never snidely, sarcastically or dismissively, and never with rancor or condescension.

    —david nasaw, New York Times, "Franklin Roosevelt’s Story Is Worth Telling Again and Again,"8 Dec. 2017

  • For this one the etymology is useful.

    It's a Latin word, formed with the prefix con- (meaning 'with') plus the verb descendere (meaning 'go down, descend'), and together meaning to lower oneself metaphorically in status by associating with inferiors.

    This is Classical Roman culture, remember; it featured a rigidly enforced vertical social hierarchy, with rich nobles at the top, slaves at the bottom, and everybody else in between.

    In Modern English, with a somewhat different social system — and extremely different social values — the word has come to mean not so much to treat everyone alike — which is now a good thing, after all — but rather to be perceived to be making an effort to treat everyone alike, especially one's presumed "inferiors".

    Since this is a matter of interpretation, often by those who feel condescended to (note the Passive of an intransitive verb with a transitivizing preposition, like insist on), condescension is easy to complain about, but very hard to distinguish from personal dislike.

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