Podcast snobocracy

Printable Version
Pronunciation: snah-bah-crê-si Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Snobdom, snobs as a class, all snobs collectively. 2. A society in which snobs hold sway, a society controlled by snobs.

Notes: The -cracy in this word means "rule, governance" as we see in democracy, autocracy, and meritocracy. This means that the politically influential members of this group are snobocrats who behave snobocratically. All snobs together as a class comprise snobdom, though today's word can be used in the same sense.

In Play: When we speak of snobocracies, we don't look for countries; this kind of ruling class is found everywhere: "The company's fortunes ran afoul of a managerial snobocracy that refused to listen to the ideas of the folks who did the work for them." If you are not born a member, you must buy your way into a snobocracy: "Haifa Lutin worked on Wall Street for 20 years until she made enough money to join the New York snobocracy."

Word History: It is clear that this word is composed of snob + -cracy. Snob is a variation of snot, the slang word for the disgusting nasal mucous that is more visible when your nose is 'stuck up' in the air. English bears several words based on this lexical unmentionable referring to people who are high-falutin' and arrogant: snotty and snooty are the first among them, but snub is also a cousin. Snoot and snout are also both variants of the same slippery root. Jimmy Durante's inventions, schnoz and schnozolla, too, are based on the same word with a twist of Yiddish and Italian that accrued from its origins in Manhattan, New York. The root is clearly Germanic, not a borrowing. It might well be an onomatopoetic word based on the sound of someone clearing their nasal passages before the invention of the handkerchief.

Dr. Goodword,

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