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Oh surprise, Condescendant has a very different meaning in English compared to Spanish.


Assuming a tone of superiority or a patronizing attitude


  1. adj. Que condesciende.
  2. adj. Pronto, dispuesto a condescender.


Acomodarse por bondad al gusto y voluntad de alguien.

Does anybody have an idea of how the two words, having the same Latin root, came to have such different meanings in both Languages?

Further, based on the Spanish meaning, how would you then translate condescendiente to English?

share|improve this question
Nice and interesting question! – Gonzalo Medina Mar 16 '12 at 17:37
My answer to the second question is accommodating, but Oxford gives condescending or understanding. – Peter Taylor Mar 17 '12 at 12:50
@PeterTaylor Accommodating sounds more appropriate. Condescending, clearly, is not an accurate translation unless Oxford shows a different definition from what Wikitionary shows. Add your comment as an answer. I will upvote now and accept later if no one else can come up with an answer to my first question. – Icarus Mar 17 '12 at 14:11
According to "to condescend" also has 2 different meanings. Maybe the Spanish translation is related to the meaning "To descend to the level of one considered inferior; lower oneself." – Juanillo Mar 18 '12 at 14:41
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is an example of false friend and possible an auto-antonym.
1) The English word is condescendent or condescending

1707, prp. adj. from condescend. Originally in a positive sense (of God, the Savior, etc.) until late 18c. Related: Condescendingly (1650s).

2) In other languages (French, Italian, etc.) it retains the "good sense".
3) I would translate it as "affable".

share|improve this answer
Great links. It explains everything, I think. Thanks. – Icarus Mar 18 '12 at 15:05

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