Literally supercilious

“Supercilious” is probably a word you’ve heard (meaning “showing haughty disdain”), but do you know its origin? I didn’t until now! It comes from “super” (above) and “cilium” (eyelid), which together become “eyebrow”, and refers to the act of arching an eyebrow in disdain. Coined in the 1520s, I infer that the habit of using the eyebrow in this way must go way, way back. Today in the 2010s, we instead could use an emoticon that can express the same feeling in eyebrow-less email and other online communications. Any suggestions?

2 of 2 people learned something from this entry.

  1. Scott Van Essen said,

    December 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    (Learned something new!)


  2. Mike said,

    December 29, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I was just about to suggest something similar: \:|

  3. Tyestin said,

    December 29, 2010 at 9:39 am

    (Learned something new!)


  4. Katie said,

    December 31, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I like Tyestin’s suggestion. I thing it would take too many characters to make one that really looks like the one-eyebrow-raised disdainful look.

    Happy new year, Kiri!

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