ar·​ri·​viste ˌa-ri-ˈvēst How to pronounce arriviste (audio)
: one that is a new and uncertain arrival (as in social position or artistic endeavor)

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An arriviste is someone who is just beginning to "arrive," in the sense of achieving success or making a name for oneself. Often the word can have slightly negative connotations, indicating a person who is highly aggressive or perhaps unscrupulous in his or her climb to the top. Like its synonym parvenu, arriviste can also indicate a lack of certainty or confidence in one's newfound position. Arriviste is something of a new arrival itself, relatively speaking. English speakers borrowed the term from French in the early 20th century.

Examples of arriviste in a Sentence

the town's old money immediately shunned these vulgar arrivistes, who may have had the cash but certainly not the class
Recent Examples on the Web Where’s our charming arriviste? Jason Gay, WSJ, 21 Dec. 2020 Compared with some of her peers, she was initially seen as an arriviste. Caitlin Moscatello, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2023 Her circle includes an aunt who is a champion wrestler, a resident Goth named Isabel and sultry Penny Century, an arriviste married to a wealthy magnate with horns on his head. Los Angeles Times, 3 Jan. 2023 Though the indigenous Jewish often preserved their own customs (e.g., Romaniotes), by and large they were absorbed by the arriviste Sephardim. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 17 Jan. 2011 Henry VII was a medieval arriviste, the last man standing after the ruinous Wars of the Roses. Dominic Green, WSJ, 12 Nov. 2022 The underdog pick is Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun), an ingenuous arriviste who, long-limbed and blunder-prone, provides much of the show’s comic relief. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2021 Three years ago, Gaga got dinged for being an Oscars arriviste; there could have been a hundred people in the room and not enough of them voted for her in Best Actress. Nate Jones, Vulture, 30 Sep. 2021 But every now and then even captains of industry get taken by surprise, and lately they’ve been kept on their toes by a barrage of novel financial vehicles and the arriviste investors driving up their value. Emily Stewart, Town & Country, 3 June 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arriviste.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French, from arriver "to reach a destination, achieve success" (going back to Old French ariver "to reach a destination by ship") + -iste -ist entry 1 — more at arrive entry 1

First Known Use

1895, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of arriviste was in 1895


Dictionary Entries Near arriviste

Cite this Entry

“Arriviste.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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