If you patronize a business, you shop there regularly. But if someone patronizes you, it's not so pleasant — they talk to you as if you were inferior or not very intelligent.

Patronize comes from Latin patronus "protector, master," related to pater "father." So if you patronize a person, you talk down to them like a father might do to his child or a master to his apprentice. If you want to take an advanced class and your advisor warns you of all the hard work, you can tell him to stop patronizing you — you know a hard class involves hard work. This sounds much better than saying, "I'm not stupid!"

Definitions of patronize
  1. verb
    assume sponsorship of
    synonyms: patronise, sponsor
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    sponsor together with another sponsor
    type of:
    support materially or financially
  2. verb
    be a regular customer or client of
    “We patronize this store”
    synonyms: keep going, patronage, patronise, support
    keep going, run on
    continue uninterrupted
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    type of:
    foster, nurture
    help develop, help grow
  3. verb
    do one's shopping at; do business with; be a customer or client of
    synonyms: buy at, frequent, patronise, shop, shop at, sponsor
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    refuse to sponsor; refuse to do business with
    type of:
    back up, support
    give moral or psychological support, aid, or courage to
  4. verb
    treat condescendingly
    synonyms: condescend, patronise
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    stoop to
    make concessions to
    type of:
    act together or towards others or with others
Word Family