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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:58 pm

• parvenu •

Pronunciation: pah(r)-ve-nuHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A member of the nouveau riche who has suddenly risen to a much higher income level but is rejected by those of older wealth, ostensibly for lack of the social graces associated with that social level.

Notes: A member of the nouveau riche is someone who has recently become wealthy and who flaunts his or her wealth. We contrast them with Old Money, those who make money the old fashioned way—they inherit it. A parvenu is a member of the nouveau riche who lacks the grace and panache expected of old money (the elite upper-class). Parvenu, like all nouns in English, may be used as an adjective, as someone's parvenu antics.

In Play: You don't have to misbehave to be a parvenu; a parvenu may be rejected by Old Money on general principles: "All the parvenus were seated in the back of the banquet hall, away from genuine bluebloods." One of the differences between Old Money and parvenus is that the conspicuous consumption of the former is not exhibitionist: "What could be more parvenu than the race between Paul Allen (Microsoft) and Larry Ellis (Oracle) to build the longest yacht in the world?"

Word History: Today's French word is the past participle of parvenire "to arrive", which goes back to Latin pervenire, based on per "through" + venire "to come". Per goes back to a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root meaning "forward, through" that came down to English as for and fore, as well as first. In Greek it emerges as peri "around, near", found in periscope and periodontist. Venire "to come" appears in the phrase, venite adoremus "come let us adore him", in the Christmas carol, "Come all Ye Faithful" (Adeste Fideles). It goes back to a PIE root gwa- "come, go", which is also the source of English go. In Latin the [g] disappeared and the W (double U when U was spelled V) became V (single U). (We would like to offer Kurt Bonifay a wealth of gratitude for bringing up today's Good Word.)
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Postby skinem » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:07 am

I wish I was parvenu enough to be rejected by old money, instead of being rejected for all the usual reasons. :)

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Postby swapnil_ghan » Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:26 am

In the film Downfall, Hitler refers to Goering as "ein Parvenu!"

now got it why he does so.

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Postby Bailey » Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:59 am

I'm not parvenu, but I'll gladly pay you tuesday if you lend me $$ today.

mark aspiring-Parvenu Bailey
I'm not; but I wannbe,

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