Word of the Day : February 8, 2014

parvenu

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noun PAHR-vuh-noo

Definition

: one who 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

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.


Examples

Washington old-timers viewed the young senator as an upstart parvenu.

"Today, Denver continues to reflect the brash carelessness of the parvenu, flush and arrogant with sudden riches." - From an article by Susan Barnes-Gelt in the Denver Post, November 24, 2013



Test Your Vocabulary

What 8-letter word begins with "p" and can mean "a member of the common people of ancient Rome" or simply "a common person"? The answer is …


Video

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'Parvenu' — Video Word of the Day 1/27/2020

noun - one that suddenly gains wealth or power


Podcast


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