mid·​dle·​brow ˈmi-dᵊl-ˌbrau̇ How to pronounce middlebrow (audio)
: a person who is moderately but not highly cultivated
middlebrow adjective

Examples of middlebrow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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 Her parents ran in avant-garde circles in Prague but resigned themselves to life in the middlebrow, middle-class community of Czech emigres in mid-century Manhattan. Sebastian Stockman, Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2023 Though some critics disdained Mr. Cahill’s books as middlebrow, many others, including eminent scholars, praised his gift for bringing arcane topics to life. Clay Risen, New York Times, 30 Oct. 2022 This is true even for TV critics, who generally complain that the Television Academy, which votes on the awards, tends to reward the same (middlebrow) fare year after year. Inkoo Kang, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 Neil Simon — probably the most commercially successful playwright ever to walk the Earth — has fallen way out of style, written off as the quintessential mid-century middlebrow. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 6 Dec. 2021 Whether middlebrow or low, these works reshape Diana to their own needs, borrowing her familiar, eventful yet unknowable story to sell mere gossip as relatable real-life tragedy. New York Times, 17 Nov. 2021 But the case for the Emmys as a collective showcase of the industry’s middlebrow finest is an easy one to make — at least for the medium’s sake. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021 For years, public derision has followed each instance of white middlebrow acts triumphing over culture-defining Black art at the Grammys. Andrew R. Chow, Time, 10 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'middlebrow.' 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

1922, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of middlebrow was in 1922

Dictionary Entries Near middlebrow

Cite this Entry

“Middlebrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/middlebrow. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


mid·​dle·​brow ˈmid-ᵊl-ˌbrau̇ How to pronounce middlebrow (audio)
: a person who is moderately but not highly educated and refined
middlebrow adjective
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