nouveau riche


nou·​veau riche ˌnü-ˌvō-ˈrēsh How to pronounce nouveau riche (audio)
plural nouveaux riches ˌnü-ˌvō-ˈrēsh How to pronounce nouveau riche (audio)
: a person newly rich : parvenu

Example Sentences

a nouveau riche who is reportedly using his money to buy his way into Palm Beach society
Recent Examples on the Web Starring the wildly good-looking duo Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, the marital drama is adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 series of the same name, which follows the slow disintegration of a nouveau riche couple (one of whom is, of course, a divorce lawyer) with a young daughter. Devon Ivie, Vulture, 17 Aug. 2021 Contrasting Joe's world — which was kind of old, deep, and very textured — Kate and Malcolm's apartment on the opposite side was more nouveau riche. Natalia Senanayake, Peoplemag, 8 Mar. 2023 Almost nine decades ago, the oil boom brought Houston an embarrassment of riches, out of which emerged a select group of nouveau riche millionaires who were a symbol of a new Texas—an even bigger Texas. Rachel Silva, ELLE Decor, 14 Oct. 2022 Even more surprisingly, Psy did it with what amounted to a Korean inside joke: his big hit lampoons the garish and culturally incongruous pretensions of Seoul’s nouveau riche, a class in evidence nowhere more so than Gangnam. Colin Marshall, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2022 The unspoken rule, now very much spoken, was created by the old money elite, hoping to elevate themselves above the nouveau riche, or newly wealthy. Anna Kaufman, USA TODAY, 13 Aug. 2022 Following his resignation in 1991, Mr. Gorbachev watched as Russia stumbled through market reforms, crippling poverty and the rise of the nouveau riche that embraced the most extravagant aspects of capitalism. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, 30 Aug. 2022 Yet, through the British Museum’s offerings, all have become part of new efforts to capitalize on artists’ work posthumously by embracing the fad for N.F.T. collecting among the cryptocurrency nouveau riche. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 14 May 2022 That Molly is a member of the nouveau riche jetset who lives in Bel-Air made crafting her sartorial identity all the more interesting. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nouveau riche.' 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, literally, "newly rich"

First Known Use

circa 1796, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nouveau riche was circa 1796

Dictionary Entries Near nouveau riche

Cite this Entry

“Nouveau riche.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

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