Posted by Masakim on December 15, 2001
In Reply to: Slang --snob posted by James Briggs on December 15, 2001
: : : Possibly an American euphemism, but "Hoity-Toity" (ph) is used to describe in a condescending way someone of high society-- not necessarily nobility. Anyone know where this (Minced oath) came from?
: : Not sure if you need help with "snob" or "hoity-toity" so here are both of them:
: : Main Entry: 1hoi·ty-toi·ty
: : Pronunciation: "hoi-tE-'toi-tE, "hI-tE-'tI-tE
: : Function: noun
: : Etymology: rhyming compound from English dialect "hoit" to play the fool
: : Date: 1668
: : : thoughtless giddy behavior
: : ================================
: : A paste from the Word Detective:
: : Snob
: : "Snob" first appeared in English around 1781 meaning, of all things, a shoemaker, or sometimes a shoemaker's apprentice. One authority (Hugh Rawson, in his book "Wicked Words") raises the possibility that "snob" may have begun as essentially the same word as "snub," which came, interestingly, from an Old Norse word meaning "to cut short." Perhaps, notes Rawson, the "snob" (shoemaker) was so called because he "snubbed" (cut) leather. Today, of course, snobs "snub," or cut short, the rest of us all the time.
: : Whatever its actual origin, by the late 18th century, "snob" had been picked up by university students in England, who used it to mean "townsman," as opposed to a "gownsman," or student. By the 1830s, "snob" was slang for an ostentatiously vulgar commoner, and in 1848 the novelist William Thackeray expanded the term yet further in his "Book of Snobs," where he used the term to denote a kind of grasping, pretentious social climber. And by the early 20th century, "snob" was being used in its modern sense to describe a person who derives satisfaction from disdaining those of lower social rank.
: Snob. I always understood that the origin here was from the 18/19th century English Public (ie Private) school system, where the Son of a Nobleman was always entered in the school register with the abbreviation 'Snob'. Perhaps too good an explanation to be true?
William & Mary Morris, in Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, gave another explanation
too good to be true:
snob. Most lexicons label _snob_ "origin unknown," but from a Londoner came an explanation of the origin that seems quite logical. It seems that Oxford freshmen were required to register "according to rank." Those not of noble birth added after their names the phrase _sine nobilitate_, which was then abbreviated to "s. nob.," thus creating what our friend terms "a perfect definition for the commoner who wishes to mingle with the nobles."