A snob, guilty of snobbery, is a person who adopts the world-view that some people are inherently inferior to others 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 to, and to which he or she may never belong to.

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).

Historical origins

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 usual and more familiar story, now discredited, is that "snob" was used as schoolboy slang at Eton College in the post-Waterloo generation, when many more sons of the rich manufacturers of the booming industrial revolution were joining the sons of the gentry. The "snobs" designated the group of boys who were not "nobs", the nobility, those who carried the designation "Hon." before their names if they did not actually carry a courtesy title. The "snobs" were those who, sine nobilitate—the former etymology ran— ("without a title to nobility"), carried themselves as "swells". By 1831, "nob" and "snob", whatever their current meaning at the time and their derivation, were clearly opposed social groups, for the Lincoln Herald (on 22 July, 1831) could declare "The snobs have lost their dirty seats - the honest nobs have got 'em." [1]

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.

In a hierarchic organization, such as the British Raj, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or the Jesuits, the path to advancement from below is often eased for those who most whole-heartedly adopt the point-of-view of their superiors.

In a less hierarchic society, such as today's Western democracies, snobbism takes new forms, with a different dynamic. In modern society, certain celebrity figures occupy the center of an "in-group", and snobs imitate the outward style of those perceived as being at the center. This imitation is often characterized by conspicuous consumption, a phenomenon named and described by the economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen, in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899).

Reverse snobbery

Reverse snobbery is the phenomenon of looking unfavourably on perceived social elites, effectively the opposite of snobbery. Monty Python's comedy sketches occasionally parodied this phenomenon, such as a coal miner son trying to reconcile with his author father who has disowned him.

Certain youth cultures such as the punk, skinhead and hip-hop cultures may have such tendencies. They often view upper-classes as "sheltered" or "spoiled" and view such youth who attempt to fit in their respective subcultures as "posers".

See also


External links


The Snobs were a 1960s British Band. They consisted of Colin Sandland, Eddie Gilbert, John Boulden and Peter Yerral.

They were known by that name because of their Georgian wigs and shoes.
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Intelligence is a property of mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. There are several ways to define intelligence.
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Wealth from the old English word "weal", which means "well-being" or "welfare". The term was originally an adjective to describe the possession of such qualities.
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Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well-developed wisdom.
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Pseudointellectual is a pejorative term used to describe someone who engages in false intellectualism or is intellectually dishonest. The term is often, though not always, used to describe one who regularly critiques the work of professionals, while lacking the requisite
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lifestyle is the way a person lives. This includes patterns of social relations, consumption, entertainment, and dress. A lifestyle typically also reflects an individual's attitudes, values or worldview.
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Nouveau riche (French for "new rich"), or new money refers to persons who acquire wealth within their generation.
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Parvenus are people that are relative newcomers to a socioeconomic class. The word derives from the French language; it is the past participle of the verb parvenir (to reach, to arrive, to manage to do something).
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Elite (also spelled Élite) is taken from the Latin, eligere, "to elect". In sociology as in general usage, the élite is a relatively small dominant group within a larger society, which enjoys a privileged status which is upheld by individuals of lower social status
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status symbol is something, usually an expensive or rare object, that indicates a high social status for its owner.


The expression "status symbol" was first recorded in 1955 [1] but gained wide currency through the 1959 best selling book
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Norbert Elias (June 22, 1897 — August 1, 1990) was a German sociologist of Jewish descent, who later became a British citizen.

His work focused on the relationship between power, behavior, emotion, and knowledge over time.
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highbrow is synonymous with intellectual; as an adjective, it also means elite, and generally carries a connotation of high culture. The word draws its metonymy from the pseudoscience of phrenology, and was originally simply a physical descriptor.
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Lowbrow can refer to
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  • Lowbrow, the original title of the pilot of the Cartoon Network series Megas XLR.

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For the making of shoes, see Shoemaking

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Well-known people named Shoemaker include:
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Dieu et mon droit   (French)
"God and my right"
No official anthem specific to England — the anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the Queen".
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Motto Floreat Etona
(May Eton Flourish)
Established 1440

Type Public School
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Head Master Anthony Little

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Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation had a profound effect on socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Britain and subsequently spread throughout the world, a process that
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A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used by children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (IPA: /ˈθækərɪ/; July 18, 1811 – December 24, 1863) was an Anglo-Indian novelist of the 19th century.
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Punch was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire published from 1841 to 1992 and from 1996 to 2002.


Punch was founded in July 17 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells.
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Earl or Jarl was an Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian title meaning "chieftain" and referring especially to chieftains set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke (hertig/hertug
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Honourable East India Company (HEIC), often colloquially referred to as "John Company", and "Company Bahadur" in India, was an early joint-stock company (the Dutch East India Company was the first to issue public stock).
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A Nawab (Urdu: نواب, Hindi: नवाब) was originally the subedar (provincial governor) or viceroy of a subah (province) or region of the Mughal empire. It became a high title for Muslim nobles.
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