high·​brow ˈhī-ˌbrau̇ How to pronounce highbrow (audio)
: a person who possesses or has pretensions to superior learning or culture
highbrow adjective
highbrowed adjective
highbrowism noun

Examples of highbrow in a Sentence

guests at her elegant dinner parties are a mix of the city's highbrows and captains of industry
Recent Examples on the Web Richie Grainge herself has evolved her stylistic approach from an ostentatious Los Angeleno verve into a look that’s more low-key highbrow. Nick Remsen, CNN, 13 Feb. 2024 No word better sums up our quixotic hopes for the visual, uniting the lowbrow (video-game headsets, van Gogh warehouses), the highbrow (Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms, James Turrell’s light installations), and the middlebrow (Alfonso Cuarón’s Steadicam jaunts, James Cameron’s 3-D extravaganzas). Jackson Arn, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 The roll call of films ranges from the highbrow to the decidedly grungy, the menu of a true movie fanatic. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2023 Just dumb enough to work, the haunted-house plot barrels through clichés and comes out the other side with an earnestly lowbrow evisceration of the fake highbrow. Charles Bramesco, Vulture, 16 July 2021 Tár is its highbrow counterpart, teasing and celebrating the same personal crisis and class issues. Armond White, National Review, 27 Jan. 2023 But in the pandemic’s wake, the chief human resources officer has morphed into a highbrow position, working with CEOs to drive attraction and retention among a myriad of other talent operations. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2023 Margot Robbie, playing Barbie, is clad in an exact re-creation of the original Barbie’s outfit; Gerwig is clearly thinking about the interplay between highbrow and lowbrow, between art and commercialism. Jason P. Frank, Vulture, 19 Dec. 2022 Its first scenes seem to promise an almost self-parodic tour of 21st-century highbrow culture, as Lydia Tár, a world-famous conductor played by Cate Blanchett, is interviewed by the real-life writer Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker Festival. A.o. Scott, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use

1898, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of highbrow was in 1898

Dictionary Entries Near highbrow

Cite this Entry

“Highbrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/highbrow. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


high·​brow -ˌbrau̇ How to pronounce highbrow (audio)
: a person who has or pretends to have more learning or culture than others : intellectual
highbrow adjective

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