4

All these words can be translated in English as "arrogant", but I would like more explanation as to which context each would be used in.

For example, I can't tell the difference between these expressions:

傲慢な態度をとる

横柄な態度をとる

威張った態度をとる

This is my current guess of the differences based on what I read so far:

傲慢

To act like one is better than others by looking down on them. Used to describe the personality of a person as a whole.

横柄

To act superior by ignoring others. Used to describe the behavior and actions of a person. The antonym would be 謙虚

威張る

To behave like one is important (not too certain how this is different from the others)

EDIT:

As a user has pointed out, there are more similar words that can be interpreted the same way in English. If anyone can add as to how these words are different, it would be appreciated.

高慢 - From the kanji, I'm guessing this is based more on being too proud of oneself, hence being arrogant

高ぶる - Not too sure about this one

  • Would be nice to include [高慢]{こう・まん} and [高]{たか}ぶる as well. – istrasci Sep 17 at 15:30
  • @istrasci Interesting, I've never seen those words before. naruto's answer clears up a lot of confusion between the 3 already though, so I wouldn't want to make his answer redundant. I'll edit the question to include these as well, but I'll accept his answer for now. – shade549 Sep 18 at 1:41
  • 2
    We also say 偉そうな in casual speech. 「エラソーな態度」とか – Chocolate Sep 18 at 2:00
3

横柄 and 威張った only describe someone's behavior visible to others. 傲慢 can also describe someone's way of thinking.

  • 横柄な態度, 威張った態度, 傲慢な態度: OK
  • 横柄な口の利き方, 威張った口の利き方, 傲慢な口の利き方: OK
  • 傲慢な考え方: OK
  • 横柄な考え方, 威張った考え方: NG
  • この会社を自分だけで大きくしたと思っているなら傲慢だ。: OK
  • この会社を自分だけで大きくしたと思っているなら横柄だ。: NG

As for 威張った態度 vs 横柄な態度, they are very close, but I somehow feel the former tends to refer to an explicit and noisy behavior, whereas 横柄な態度 mainly refers to a more silent and insidious behavior.

  • English note: For some reason ‘one’ actually doesn’t really work here. I can’t tell if it’s because the referent is inside a quote or because the referent is in a different language, but either way it should probably be “behavior” etc lol – Darius Jahandarie Sep 18 at 2:19
  • @DariusJahandarie Thank you, corrected. – naruto Sep 18 at 2:34

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