Key Difference – Haughty vs Supercilious
Haughty and supercilious are two adjectives that refer to the superior attitude of an individual. Haughty can be described as having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people. Supercilious can be described as having or showing arrogant superiority and being disdainful of the people who are supposedly inferior or unworthy. Thus, both these adjectives have a similar meaning.
What Does Haughty Mean?
Haughty means arrogantly superior and disdainful. In other words, a haughty person thinks he or she is better, smarter, or more important than others and shows an insulting attitude to them. A haughty person is often overbearing, prideful, disdainful, and obnoxious. He or she always looks down on others.
The character of Mr. Darcy in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is often described as a proud and haughty man. His haughtiness is evident in his well-known dialogue:
She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. …
The following examples will help you to understand how this adjective is used in sentences.
The haughty waiter smirked when she mispronounced the name of the French dish.
He spoke with a tone of haughty disdain.
She was shy, but many people saw her as a haughty woman.
She hated socializing with haughty aristocrats.
He looked at her with an expression of haughty disdain.
What Does Supercilious Mean?
Supercilious is very similar to haughty. It refers to the act of behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others. Supercilious people also think they are better or more important than others; thus, they show a very unpleasant and proud attitude towards others.
Supercilious comes from the Latin supercilium which means ‘eyebrow’. This refers to haughty and prideful facial expressions that are often associated with superciliousness.
The following examples illustrate how this adjective is used in a sentence.
He curled his lips in a supercilious smile.
He is a hateful, supercilious man who never listens to others.
The supercilious old man refused to have lunch with others.
Although she is warm and friendly with her family, her co-workers see her as a cold, supercilious woman.
What is the difference between Haughty and Supercilious?
Haughty can be described as having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people.
Supercilious can be described as having or showing arrogant superiority and being disdainful of the people who are supposedly inferior or unworthy.
Since haughty and supercilious have similar meanings, they can be used interchangeably. They are also synonymous with words like arrogant, disdainful and condescending.
“Świętosława of Poland” By Erik Werenskiold – the 1899 Norwegian translation of Heimskringla.Crop of File:Sigrid and olaf.jpg, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
“Pride and Prejudice CH3 detail” By C. E. Brock – Scans from the book at Pemberley.com (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia