- (intransitive) To condescend; to do despite a perceived affront to one's dignity.
- He didn't even deign to give us a nod of the head; he thought us that far beneath him.
- 1898, George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra:
- THE MAJOR-DOMO. Caesar will deign to choose his wine? Sicilian, Lesbian, Chian——
- 1956, Anthony Burgess, Time for a Tiger (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 192:
- "He will deign to finish this simple fare and wash it down with nothing more Lucullan than beer."
- (transitive) To condescend to give; to do something.
- c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], page 131, column 2:
- Nor would we deigne him buriall of his men, / Till he diſburſed, at Saint Colmes ynch, / Ten thouſand Dollars, to our generall vſe.
- 1871, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Heartsease, Or, The Brother's Wife, volume 2, page 189:
- He, who usually hardly deigned a glance at his infants, now lay gazing with inexpressible softness and sadness at the little sleeping face […]
- (obsolete) To esteem worthy; to consider worth notice.
- c. 1590–1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
- Go, go, be gone, to ſaue your Ship from wrack, / Which cannot periſh hauing thee aboarde, / Being deſtin’d to a drier death on ſhore : / I muſt goe ſend ſome better Meſſenger, / I fear my Iulia would not daigne my lines, / Receiuing them from ſuch a worthleſſe poſt.
Usage notes Edit
Like condescend, this word was often used in the past with a positive, earnest valence in referring to exalted personages such as God or monarchs. Today it is most often used sarcastically, frequently in the negative, to connote an unjustified air of superiority.
Related terms Edit