highbrow

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    The word "highbrow" seems to have two almost contradictory connotations - snob or intellectual giant. How come?
     
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

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    highbrow

    adjectives

    scholarly or rarefied in taste.

    innovatory art had a small, mostly highbrow following.

    noun

    a highbrow person.

    she considered all those without television as highbrows, intellectual snobs, or paupers.

    Definitions from Oxford Languages.

    Looking at noun I take the

    intellectual snobs - to be those to good for TV, because TV is below them. They engage in activities (reading) which require effort to absorb, while TV just floods into you

    paupers - can't afford

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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    The phrase "effete intellectual snobs" comes to mind
     
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Could be

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  8. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    cultural language variations render some words to be completely different meanings
    what culture were you raised in ?
    which country are you referring to the definition being used in & by which cultural group ?
    left or right(americanism) is not an absolute term of linguistics meaning & intonation of English Language.

    ?
    "why" is entirely relative to the person whom is using the term & to whom they are referring to.
    assuming it is a person they are referring to & not an action or cultural practice.

    classic meaning
    urban vernacular meaning
    most common usage meaning
    common public association meaning
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Those aren't contradictory or mutually exclusive.

    You could find people anywhere on this chart:

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  10. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Part of me is at 225 degrees ,not too sure how far along the line out from the centre (easy to mix up self image and objective reality ,though)

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  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    You've got the sense of this word a bit wrong. It means neither.

    It really means someone with intellectual tastes - perhaps the sort of person with a domed forehead who you might find in a Hampstead bookshop, or at an early music recital or modern art exhibition. It is neither pejorative nor an expression of formidable intellect.

    My wife, who was French, managed one of her best Franglais mixed metaphors out of this, once describing a challenging art exhibition as "a bit above my eyebrows" - a conflation of "it was over my head" with "it was highbrow".

    A French person can't pronounce the H, so" highbrow" becomes "eyebrow" and, as she, actually, had fairly highbrow taste, she was right to suggest, though unintentionally, that it was not exactly over her head, but getting on that way.

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  12. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Ce qui a dû lever les surcils à certains.

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  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Moe: "We'll be paupers. Paupers!"
    Curly: "But we're not even married."
     

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