Monday, February 20, 2012

Word of the Week - Snob

There's little I like more than realizing a word in common use today has come to mean the opposite of what it once did. 

Snob is definitely one of those words.

It appeared in English from some mysterious place, and scholars aren't sure of its origins--just that it made its debut round about 1781 with the meaning of "shoemaker." That's right--shoemaker. LOL. The boys at Cambridge University soon adopted it and applied it to anyone of the working class.

Fifty-ish years later the word took a turn and was used to mean someone of a lower class who "vulgarly apes his superiors." Slowly, throughout the nineteenth century, it evolved into one who puts on airs . . . who insists upon his gentility . . . and finally, by 1911, someone who insists upon it to the point of looking down their nose at those who are inferior.

Quite the trek that word has taken, eh? Love this one!

5 comments:

  1. Hah! Good to know I can have my heroine calling my hero a snob in my next novel. :)

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  2. It is very intersting to see the history and origin of words. This word has really come a long way from it's original meaning.

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  3. Naomi...is your hero a shoemaker? You have to wonder how the word could change so drastically. Thanks, Roseanna

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  4. That's hilarious! What a strange transition!

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