A snob, guilty of snobbery, is someone who adopts the worldview that some people are inherently inferior to him/her for any one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect, wealth, education, ancestry, etc.Fact|date=May 2007 Often, the form of snobbery reflects the offending individual's socio-economic background. For example, a common snobbery of the affluent is the affectation that wealth is either the cause or result of superiority, or both, as in the case of privileged children.

However, a form of snobbery can be adopted by someone not a part of that group; a pseudo-intellectual is a type of snob. Such a snob imitates the manners, adopts the worldview, and affects the lifestyle of a social class of people to which he or she aspires, but does not yet belong, and to which he or she may never belong.

A snob is perceived by those being imitated as an "arriviste", perhaps "nouveau riche" or "parvenu", and the elite group closes ranks to exclude such outsiders, often by developing elaborate social codes, symbolic status and recognizable marks of language. The snobs, in response, refine their behavior model. [Norbert Elias, "The Court Society" 1983.]

Historical origins

Characteristically, snobs look down on people who are part of groups which they regard as inferior, or flaunt their wealth in order to make others seem inferior. Compare the points of view embodied in the informal and subjective categories of "highbrow" and its contrasted "lowbrow".

The "Oxford English Dictionary" finds the word "snab" in a 1781 document with the meaning of "shoemaker" with a Scottish origin. The connection between "snab", also spelled "snob", and its more familiar meaning arising in England fifty years later is not direct.

Though the once popular etymology of "snob" as a contraction of the Latin phrase "sine nobilitate" ("without nobility") is now discredited, [cite web | title = What is the origin of the word 'snob'? | url = | work = AskOxford (Oxford Dictionaries) | accessdate = 2008-04-16] a 1878 quote from the trade magazine "The Tailor and Cutter" admits no other interpretation: "it is the correct thing to vote a showily dressed man a snob." [Quoted by Phillis Emily Cunnington, "The History of Underclothes" 1992:169.]

It is agreed, however, that the word "snob" broke into broad public usage with William Makepeace Thackeray's "Book of Snobs", a collection of satirical sketches that appeared in the magazine "Punch", published in 1848. Thackeray's definition of "snob" then was: "He who meanly admires mean things is a Snob". The "mean things" were the showy things of this world, like a secretaryship in the Queen's Cabinet, where Prime Ministers invariably retired as earls.

:"Suppose in a game of life — and it is but a twopenny game after all — you are equally eager of winning. Shall you be ashamed of your ambition, or glory in it?" :::— Thackeray, "Autour de mon Chapeau", 1863

Thackeray had many opportunities to study snobs in action as he grew up. He was born in Calcutta, India, the only son of a Collector in the service of the British East India Company, a sphere of opportunity for Englishmen of talent whose social standing was an impediment to a career at home, but who in India could lord it like a "nabob". After his father died, Thackeray was sent home to England to be educated at the ancient and respectable (though not too stylish) public school Charterhouse, and at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Inverted snobbery

Inverted snobbery is the phenomenon of looking unfavorably on perceived social elites – effectively the opposite of snobbery. For instance, poorer members of society may consider themselves to be friendlier, happier, more honest or moral than richer members of the society, and middle-income members of society may stress their poorer origins. This is common in politics; for example, in Great Britain, MPs often say things such as "I grew up on a council estate" to try to prove their common roots, and in the United States, politicians often speak of such things as their "small town upbringing".

The term "bourgeois" is frequently used in North America to describe individuals who borrow veneers of upper classes in order to affect a sophisticated, cultured image.

A related phenomenon is for people who have worked hard to change their lives to be accused of having "betrayed their roots".Fact|date=July 2008

ee also

*Chronological snobbery
*Emotional insecurity
*Spoiled brat


External links

* [ Joseph Epstein, "In a snob-free zone"] : "Is there a place where one is outside all snobbish concerns—neither wanting to get in anywhere, nor needing to keep anyone else out?"


* [ Ask Oxford - Ask the Experts]
* [ Merriam Webster On-line Dictionary]
* [ On-line Etymology Dictionary]

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  • snob — snob …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • snob — [ snɔb ] n. et adj. • 1843 le Snob, sobriquet; mot angl. « cordonnier », qui désignait en arg. de l université de Cambridge « celui qui n était pas de l université » ♦ Personne qui admire et imite sans discernement les manières, les goûts, les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • snob — SNOB, SNOÁBĂ, snobi, snoabe s.m. şi f., adj. (Persoană) care admiră şi adoptă fără discernământ şi cu orice preţ tot ce este la modă. – Din fr. snob. Trimis de RACAI, 07.12.2003. Sursa: DEX 98  SNOB adj. (rar) snobistic. (Gest snob.) Trimis de… …   Dicționar Român

  • snob — snob; snob·bery; snob·bish; snob·bism; snob·by; snob·dom; snob·ling; snob·bish·ly; snob·bish·ness; …   English syllables

  • snob — [snɔb US sna:b] n [Date: 1800 1900; Origin: snob shoemaker, person of low social rank (18 19 centuries)] 1.) someone who thinks they are better than people from a lower social class used to show disapproval ▪ Stop being such a snob. ▪ I don t… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Snob — Snob, n. [Icel. sn[=a]pr a dolt, impostor, charlatan. Cf. {Snub}.] 1. A vulgar person who affects to be better, richer, or more fashionable, than he really is; a vulgar upstart; one who apes his superiors. Thackeray. [1913 Webster] Essentially… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • snob — snòb agg.inv., s.m. e f.inv. CO 1. agg.inv., s.m. e f.inv., che, chi ostenta raffinatezza, cercando di assumere atteggiamenti propri di classi sociali più elevate | che, chi manifesta superiorità e disprezzo nei confronti di ciò che giudica… …   Dizionario italiano

  • Snob — Sm arrogante, sich übertrieben exklusiv gebende Person erw. fremd. Erkennbar fremd (19. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. snob, dessen Herkunft nicht sicher geklärt ist. Das Wort ist seit dem Ende des 18. Jhs. in nordenglischen Dialekten belegt… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • snob|by — «SNOB ee», adjective, bi|er, bi|est. of or having to do with a snob; snobbish …   Useful english dictionary

  • snob — /snob/, n. 1. a person who imitates, cultivates, or slavishly admires social superiors and is condescending or overbearing to others. 2. a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending… …   Universalium

  • Snob — 〈[snɔ̣b] m.; Gen.: s, Pl.: s; abwertend〉 vornehm tuender Mensch, der nach gesellschaftl. Ansehen strebt, das Extravagante, Exklusive liebt u. auf andere hinabblickt [Etym.: <engl. snob, Ursprung unsicher, vielleicht urspr. Kurzform von lat.… …   Lexikalische Deutsches Wörterbuch

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