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Definition treat in a manner that demonstrates a sense of superiority, but is supposed to seem kind


the actions of a patron (to support someone or something; or to be a customer)

More rarely, patronize can mean to "give business to" as in "I don't patronize that restaurant because the owner is rude."
  • I'm annoyed by her patronizing tone — as though she knows more about my situation than I do.
patronizing = treating in a manner that demonstrates a sense of superiority, but is supposed to seem kind
  • She also spoke of finding another store to patronize, one where the proprietors were more concerned about the welfare of the community.
    Mildred D. Taylor  --  Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
  • patronize = be a customer of
  • He looked at me as if I was patronizing him.
    Ernest J. Gaines  --  A Lesson Before Dying
  • patronizing = treating in a manner that demonstrates a sense of superiority, but is supposed to seem kind
  • Then men will walk across the road when they meet you—or, worse still, hold you out a couple of fingers and patronize you in a pitying way—then you will know, as soon as your back is turned, that your friend begins with a "Poor devil, what imprudences he has committed, what chances that chap has thrown away."
    William Makepeace Thackeray  --  Vanity Fair
  • My dears, you imagined, I believe, that you were about to patronize this young gentleman, like some poor protege picked up somewhere, and taken under your magnificent protection.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Idiot
  • She ascribed this hostility to the awkward position in which Anna, who had once patronized her, must feel with her now, and she felt sorry for her.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • Max did not intend to sound so patronizing.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Fiend And The Forge
  • There's nothing patronizing in his voice, and yet I can't help thinking he reminds me of a schoolteacher about to ease children into a lesson.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Catching Fire
  • His expression was kind, tolerant, amused, patronizing.
    Alfred Bester  --  The Demolished Man
  • Don't patronize me, Erik.
    P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast  --  Marked
  • Call thought the old man rather patronizing—he knew enough to water a horse before setting off into a desert.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • I'm too bright for most men, and yet I have to descend to their level and let them patronize my intellect in order to get their attention.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  This Side of Paradise
  • I gave her a patronizing smile.
    James Patterson  --  School's Out - Forever
  • He patronized the American Festival Cafe and the Taj Mahal in Manhattan, and Tony Roma's in two boroughs.
    Rick Bragg  --  All Over but the Shoutin'
  • "Has your honor been back long?" he added patronizingly, as though encouraging a nervous visitor.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Brothers Karamazov
  • His posture toward life was very much that of the barker of a carnival sideshow: loquacious, patronizing, and cynical.
    Thomas Wolfe  --  Look Homeward, Angel
  • There is even an Ethical Society; but it is not much patronized, as my men are all strongly religious.
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Major Barbara
  • He assumed a patronizing air toward Pete.
    Stephen Crane  --  Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
  • "Oh, it's big enough," he said patronizingly, "but somehow I was expecting something... you know."
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Bones
  • Later, he tried a ten-cent barber shop, and, finding that the shave was satisfactory, patronized regularly.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  Sister Carrie

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