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

Definition of Babbitt

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

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

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The first known use of Babbitt was in 1923

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Cite this Entry

“Babbitt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for Babbitt

Babbitt biographical name

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

Definition of Babbitt

Irving 1865–1933 American scholar

More from Merriam-Webster on Babbitt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for Babbitt

Nglish: Translation of Babbitt for Spanish Speakers


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