From earlier hauty, haultic, with spelling change in imitation of naughty and high, from Middle English hautein, hautain (with -ein, -ain becoming -y through the form hautenesse standing for *hauteinnesse; see haughtiness), from haute (“self-important”), from Old French haut, hault (“high, lofty”), from Frankish *hauh, hōh (“high, lofty, proud”) and Latin altus (“high, deep”). More at high, old.
- Conveying in demeanour the assumption of superiority; disdainful, supercilious.
1922, Michael Arlen, chapter 3/1/1, “Piracy”: A Romantic Chronicle of These Days:
- How meek and shrunken did that haughty Tarmac become as it slunk by the wide circle of asphalt of the yellow sort, that was loosely strewn before the great iron gates of Lady Hall as a forerunner of the consideration that awaited the guests of Rupert, Earl of Kare, […] .
- See also Wikisaurus:arrogant
Possibly due to the similar sounding (and utterly different in meaning) hottie, haughty has become rare in North America at least.
- “haughty” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).