1. Having or displaying excessive pride in oneself or an excessive sense of self-importance.
2. Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's superiority over others: an arrogant contempt for the weak.
[Middle English arrogaunt, from Old French, from Latin arrogāns, arrogant-, present participle of arrogāre, to arrogate; see ARROGATE.]
Synonyms: arrogant, haughty, disdainful, supercilious
These adjectives mean characterized by an inflated ego and disdain for what one considers inferior. One who is arrogant is overbearingly proud and demands excessive power or consideration: an arrogant and pompous professor, unpopular with students and colleagues alike. Haughty suggests superiority, as by reason of high status: “Her laugh was satirical, and so was the habitual expression of her arched and haughty lip” (Charlotte Brontë).
Disdainful emphasizes scorn or contempt: “Nor [let] grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, / The short and simple annals of the poor” (Thomas Gray).
Supercilious implies haughty disdain and aloofness: “Failure would confirm the critics who called him supercilious for following his own methods and not theirs” (Neal Bascomb).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.