Bab·​bitt | \ ˈba-bət How to pronounce Babbitt (audio) \

Definition of Babbitt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards


biographical name
Bab·​bitt | \ ˈba-bət How to pronounce Babbitt (audio) \

Definition of Babbitt (Entry 2 of 2)

Irving 1865–1933 American scholar

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from Babbitt


Babbittry \ ˈba-​bə-​trē How to pronounce Babbitt (audio) \ noun
Babbitty \ ˈba-​bə-​tē \ adjective

Did You Know?

The values, attitudes, and mores associated with the American middle class in the 1920s can be summed up in the word Babbitry. It derives from the protagonist of Babbitt, a satirical novel by Sinclair Lewis published in 1922. George F. Babbitt epitomizes the unimaginative and self-important businessmen that Lewis found typical of the provincial cities and towns of America. Despite his evident prosperity and status, he remains vaguely dissatisfied with life and makes tentative attempts at rebellion; however, in the end, he finds his need for social acceptance greater than his desire for escape.

Did You Know?

He was a prosperous real-estate broker, a pillar of his Midwestern community, and a believer in success for its own sake. George F. Babbitt was his name and complacent American middle-class values were his game. He was created by Sinclair Lewis in the satirical 1922 novel Babbitt, and the fictional protagonist's name quickly became a synonym for one who adheres to a conformist, materialistic, unimaginative way of life.

First Known Use of Babbitt


1923, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Babbitt


George F. Babbitt, character in the novel Babbitt (1922) by Sinclair Lewis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Babbitt

Time Traveler for Babbitt

Time Traveler

The first known use of Babbitt was in 1923

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about Babbitt

Statistics for Babbitt

Cite this Entry

“Babbitt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on Babbitt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for Babbitt

Nglish: Translation of Babbitt for Spanish Speakers

Comments on Babbitt

What made you want to look up Babbitt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!