Learn English – Word for distanced person with air of superiority


Is there a good adjective to describe someone who knows they're above others, and while not boastful, they are not forthcoming or approachable? I'm not trying to describe someone who is antisocial or outright unkind.

For example, think of a popular girl in high-school who knows she gets a lot of attention. She holds this fact above everyone else and thus only stays to her social group of similar girls, mostly ignoring everyone else.

I could never muster the courage to approach the ___ girl who sat in
front of me in Biology class.

This word probably has a negative connotation, but not synonymous with malicious or reclusive.

Best Answer

Based solely on your description, my first thought was haughty or one of its synonyms:

Arrogantly superior and disdainful. (Oxford Dictionaries)

Another that I like, which is less pejorative, is lofty:

2: very high and good : deserving to be admired.
3 : showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people. (Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary)

However, in the context of your sample sentence, there is one clearly appropriate word:

I could never muster the courage to approach the cool girl who sat in front of me in Biology class.

Cool is a word with a lot of nuances of meaning, many of which work in your context:

  1. Showing no friendliness towards a person or enthusiasm for an idea or project.

    • 2.1 Free from excitement, anxiety, or excessive emotion.
    • 2.2 (of jazz) restrained and relaxed.
  2. informal Fashionably attractive or impressive.

    • 3.1 Excellent. (Oxford Dictionaries)

At least in the US, a student who is attractive and popular and slightly "above" the regular student body, but without being actively boastful or cruel, is almost the definition of "cool".