born in a barn

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English[edit]

Adjective[edit]

born in a barn (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Lacking a sense of etiquette; ill-mannered.
    • 1971, Joyce Carol Oates, Wonderland: A Novel, Vanguard Press, p. 76:
      His aunt said angrily: "Fritz, were you born in a barn? Don't you have any manners?"
    • 2002, Ruth Ann Baker, "Even wolves behave in the pack," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 19 Jun., p. N4 (retrieved 15 Sep. 2008):
      Phone at a symphony concert? I'd ask if these people were born in a barn, but that would disrespect the animals.
  2. Of humble birth, especially when referring to Jesus Christ.
    • 2007, "A Catholic vision for farm and town," National Catholic Reporter , 6 Jul. (retrieved 15 Sep. 2008):
      No surprise really for followers of Jesus, who after all was a rural dweller himself, born in a barn.
  3. (idiomatic) Engaging in the annoying behavior of inappropriately, and usually neglectfully, leaving open a door or window.
    • 2006, Heather Murphy, "The More the Merrier?," Washington Post, 20 Oct. (retrieved 15 Sep. 2008):
      Neither bothered to lock or shut the house's front or back doors. "It was like they had been born in a barn," she says.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often phrased as a rhetorical question when used to characterize a person who is rude, or displays ignorance and stupidity: Were you born in a barn?

Synonyms[edit]