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What Does It Mean?

supercilious
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Portia brings Joe home for supper and, as the butler clears the table, announces that they are engaged. Father coughs violently into his finger bowl, while Mother eyes Joe with a supercilious air. What are Joe's options?

a) To strike up a conversation with Mother because she is sympathetic.

b) To rush to Father's aid since Mother is clearly helpless in this situation.

c) To return Mother's contemptuous, haughty expression with the same.

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