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Definition of condescending?

Posted by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:02 PM
  • 17 Replies
1 mom liked this

I am having my daughter read, "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" this upcoming semester. I found an extensive lesson plan from KY schools with activities for each chapter. However, this really bugged me in the vocabulary section:

condescending – pretending one is equal to a supposed inferior

What? That's not right. Google says

condescending -- having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority

THAT is what it means. Not pretending to be equal. It's the opposite of that. So now I'm second guessing the whole plan! 

by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:02 PM
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Replies (1-10):
redhead-bedhead
by Bronze Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM
3 moms liked this

I loved that book. I found a Pinterest board with ideas for that book:http://www.pinterest.com/fearlesstech/roll-of-thunder-hear-my-cry-by-mildred-d-taylor/

JKronrod
by Bronze Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:33 PM

I suspect that they thought that children wouldn't understand the word "patronizing," which is, after all the essence of condescension, but they could have said "talking down to someone" and been closer to the mark. 

jen2150
by Silver Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 8:31 AM
Both are right. Many words have different definitions. The earlier definition is actually one of the definitions as well.
kirbymom
by Sonja on Dec. 27, 2013 at 9:41 AM
1 mom liked this
I looked up the definition and I didn't see in any of the definitions the word "supposed".

This is one of the reasons we try to stick with older published books and even the older spellings and definitions of words.

  

undefined

mem82
by Platinum Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:22 AM
I think they could have defined it better.
mem82
by Platinum Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM
I've never read the book.what is it about?
hipmomto3
by Bronze Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 11:21 AM


Quoting mem82: I've never read the book.what is it about?

We haven't started it yet, but I think it's about growing up Black in the southern US in the early 1900s. It won the Newbery in 1977. It's geared for 6th-8th grade. My daughter is a mid-year fifth grader studying US history from 1865 to present day this year.

usmom3
by BJ on Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:56 PM

 I agree with this! Words over time do have their definitions changed so it could be that the one it gives is what it used to mean!

Quoting JKronrod:

I suspect that they thought that children wouldn't understand the word "patronizing," which is, after all the essence of condescension, but they could have said "talking down to someone" and been closer to the mark. 

 

bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 4:01 PM

The definition you quoted first does not say what you say it does.  Pretending one is equal to an inferior does mean the same as superiority, it just leaves out the patronizing part.  Pretending to be above another would have been a simpler definition.

hipmomto3
by Bronze Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I don't understand how something "does not say what you say it does." Mind-bending syntax there.

Quoting bluerooffarm:

The definition you quoted first does not say what you say it does.  Pretending one is equal to an inferior does mean the same as superiority, it just leaves out the patronizing part.  Pretending to be above another would have been a simpler definition.

Condescending isn't pretending though; it's truly believed by the condescending person that they are smarter/better/whatever-er than the person they are speaking to, whether or not that is true. Condescending is 'talking down' to someone because you assume they are less intelligent than you are. 

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