EtymologyPopularized by William Makepeace Thackeray, Book of Snobs, 1848
- (disapproving) A person who seeks to be a member of the
classes and looks down on other classes such as lower classes.
- You really are a little snob, aren’t you?
- Croatian: snob
- Danish: snob
- Dutch: snob m|f
- German: Snob , Wichtigtuer
- French: snob m|f
- Hebrew: סנוב (snob)
- Icelandic: snobb
- Italian: snob m|f
- Japanese: スノッブ (sunobbu)
- Maltese: pepè, mnieħru mxammar , mnieħirha mxammar
- Russian: сноб
- Serbian: сноб
- Slovak: snob
- Spanish: esnob m|f, fresa italbrac Mexico, pijo
- Swedish: snobb
Nounsnob m (plural snobs)
Nounsnob m (plural snob)
- snob , (plural: snobi)
- snob stem
- snoba gen sg
- declension pattern
- snoba gen sg
A snob, guilty of snobbery, is a person 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. 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; Pseudo-intellectual is a type of snob. Such a snob imitates the manners, adopts the world-view 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 1983).
Characteristically, snobs look down on people who are part of groups that they regard as inferior or flaunt their wealth in order to make others feel 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.
The once popular etymology of snob as a contraction of the Latin phrase sine nobilitate ("without nobility") is now discredited.
It is agreed, however, that the word "snob" broke into broad public usage with William Makepeace Thackeray's Book of Snobs, a collection of satiric sketches that appeared in the magazine Punch and were collected and published in 1848. Thackeray's definition of "snob" then: "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 quite stylish public school Charterhouse, and at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Reverse snobberyReverse snobbery is the phenomenon of looking unfavourably on perceived social elites – effectively the opposite of snobbery. For instance poorer members of society may consider themselves to be friendlier, happier or more honest or moral than richer members of the society, and middle income members of society may stress their poorer origins.
A related phenomena is where people who have worked hard to change their lives are accused of having 'betrayed their roots'.
- Norbert Elias, The Court Society 1983.
- 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?"
snob in Danish: Snob
snob in German: Snob
snob in Spanish: Snob
snob in Persian: فخرفروشی
snob in French: Snob
snob in Icelandic: Snobb
snob in Italian: Snob
snob in Hebrew: סנוב
snob in Georgian: სნობი
snob in Hungarian: Sznob
snob in Dutch: Snob (persoon)
snob in Japanese: スノッブ
snob in Russian: Сноб
snob in Serbian: Сноб
snob in Swedish: Snobb