ar·​ri·​viste | \ ˌa-ri-ˈvēst How to pronounce arriviste (audio) \

Definition of arriviste

: one that is a new and uncertain arrival (as in social position or artistic endeavor)

Synonyms for arriviste


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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 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 Pfeiffer’s madcap turn is not a drag queen, but her graying red hair, pale skin, and low voice impersonate French art-film actress Isabelle Huppert, whom an American arriviste might envy as a model of haughtiness. Armond White, National Review, 23 Apr. 2021 Vance, the scion of a prominent Democratic family—the kind of insider whom the arriviste Trump has long resented—now has the power to rewrite Trump’s place in history. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 12 Mar. 2021 Storied firms like Sequoia Capital, an early investor in Apple, Google, and LinkedIn, have a significant edge over the arrivistes. Alex Webb,, 1 May 2020 Meanwhile, Anne must contend with the mewling of her petulant dud of a son, Oliver (Richard Goulding), and his bored arriviste wife, Susan (Alice Eve). Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Apr. 2020 Reginald Pole — a descendant of the once-ruling Plantagenets, who regard the Tudors as arrivistes — now spreads heresy and treason on the Continent. Thomas Mallon, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arriviste.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of arriviste

1895, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arriviste

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

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The first known use of arriviste was in 1895

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Cite this Entry

“Arriviste.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on arriviste

Nglish: Translation of arriviste for Spanish Speakers


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