parvenu

play
noun par·ve·nu \ˈpär-və-ˌnü, -ˌnyü\

Definition of parvenu

plural

parvenus

play \ˈpär-və-ˌn(y)üz\
  1. :  one that has recently or suddenly risen to an unaccustomed position of wealth or power and has not yet gained the prestige, dignity, or manner associated with it

parvenu

adjective

parvenu was our Word of the Day on 02/08/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of parvenu in a Sentence

  1. the kind of trophy house that a parvenu buys to prove to people, and to himself, that he has indeed arrived

Recent Examples of parvenu from the Web

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

Did You Know?

French has been generous in providing us with terms for obscure folks who suddenly strike it rich. In addition to parvenu, French has loaned us nouveau riche, arriviste, and roturier, all of which can describe a rich person of plebeian origins, especially one who is a bit snobby. Those colorful and slightly disparaging terms for the newly moneyed clearly show their French heritage, but it may be harder to see the French background of a term Massachusetts locals once used for coastal merchants made rich through the fishing trade: codfish aristocracy. Codfish comes from Middle English, but aristocracy passed into English via Middle French.

Origin and Etymology of parvenu

French, from past participle of parvenir to arrive, from Latin pervenire, from per through + venire to come — more at for, come


PARVENU Defined for English Language Learners

parvenu

play
noun

Definition of parvenu for English Language Learners

  • : a person from usually a low social position who has recently or suddenly become wealthy, powerful, or successful but who is not accepted by other wealthy, powerful, and successful people



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