Babbitt

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

babbitt

Etymology[edit]

Named after the title character in Sinclair Lewis' 1922 novel, Babbit. Also popularised by the George and Ira Gershwin song "The Babbitt and the Bromide," featured first in the 1927 musical "Funny Face" and later in the film Ziegfeld Follies (1945).

Noun[edit]

Babbitt (plural Babbitts)

  1. A person who subscribes complacently to materialistic middle-class ideals
    • 1927 Ira Gershwin, "The Babbit and the Bromide," from the stage musical "Funny Face" (1927). Lyrics collected in: Louis Kronenberger (2008) An Anthology of Light Verse, p234
      A Babbitt met a Bromide on the avenue one day. They held a conversation in their own peculiar way.
    • 1951 The Georgia review, Volume 5, University of Georgia, p150
      If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a Babbitt. Say, there's nothing more wonderful than defying middle-class conventions.
    • 2009 Phillip G. Payne, Dead last: the public memory of Warren G. Harding's scandalous legacy, Ohio University Press, p12
      In this sense Harding was a Babbitt. Intellectuals and journalists rejected Harding as being as empty as the Sinclair Lewis character.