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See also: nonu



non- +‎ U


non-U (not comparable)

  1. (chiefly Britain) not U; not characteristic of the upper classes, particularly regarding language.
    • 1992, John Algeo, “Sociolinguistic Attitudes and Issues in Contemporary Britain,” in English in Its Social Contexts, Tim W Machan and Charles T Scott edd. [1]
      The concept of U (for upper-class British usage, as opposed to non-U, or everything else) was introduced by Alan S. C. Ross (1954) and was taken up by Nancy Mitford (1956), becoming for a time something of a parlor game in which the participants tested themselves and everyone else for signs of U and non-U status.
    • 2001, Stephan Gramley, The Vocabulary of World English [2]
      For this we must turn to speculations such as those offered in connection with U and non-U English.
    • 2003, Philip Pettit, Rules, Reasons, and Norms [3]
      To speak of lavatories is U, of bathrooms non-U; to lay cloth napkins at table is U, to lay paper napkins non-U; and so on through a myriad of equally trivial examples.