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Looking for a word to describe a person who is rich in wealth, but is poor in class.

I've heard of words to describe poor people who have no class or manners, words to describe rich people who have class and manners, but I've not heard of a word to describe people who are rich in terms of wealth but lack manners and class.

Is there a specific word for that? I'm looking to describe a few men in politics who clearly best exemplify this but I don't have a word to describe them besides "poor in class but filthy rich"?

The sentence I wanted to use is:

"Some men in politics, such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, have very contrasting attributes. Because they are both filthy rich, yet class is nowhere to be seen, I like to call these two _________"

15 Answers 15

58

Is there a specific word for that?

Yes, yes there is.

vulgarian

a vulgar person, especially one whose vulgarity is the more conspicuous because of wealth, prominence, or pretensions to good breeding.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/vulgarian

  • 8
    I've up-voted because it's a great fit, although absent context describing the wealth of the subject (or a well-known subject) the reader may not assume the nuance is intended. As a practical matter , it's also so similar to the well-known "vulgar" that if they don't know of the nuanced definition they're unlikely to check the definition. – GetzelR Mar 20 '16 at 15:05
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    Trump was referred to as a "short-fingered vulgarian" by Spy magazine: npr.org/2016/03/07/469209254/… – twip Mar 21 '16 at 22:41
78

nouveau riche (this means someone who recently became rich and thus lacking in taste)

a person who has suddenly risen to a higher economic status but has not gained social acceptance of others in that class

Source

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From M-W:

Upstart

a person who has recently begun an activity, become successful, etc., and who does not show proper respect for older and more experienced people.

and Parvenu

a person from usually a low social position who has recently or suddenly become wealthy, powerful, or successful but who is not accepted by other wealthy, powerful, and successful people.

  • 2
    I think it would be better to split this answer, so people can vote on both options separately. – SQB Mar 23 '16 at 14:19
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New Money


While someone mentioned "Nouveau riche", I've literally never heard that used in conversation and would have to look it up to understand its meaning. I think the phase you're really looking for that is commonly used is new money*, which sounds like it's talking about the wealth itself but actually refers to the person:

...refers to the man or woman who previously had belonged to a lower social class and economic stratum (rank) within that class; and that the new money—which constitutes his or her wealth—allowed upward social mobility and provided the means for conspicuous consumption

*which shares the same Wikipedia article with the French term

11

In Australia, the trendy buzzword term is "Cashed-up Bogan".


From Wiktionary cashed-up bogan:

  1. (Australia) A person who is, or is perceived to be, unsophisticated or of a lower class background but achieving a high salary, who spends money on flashy or trashy items to fulfil their aspirations of higher social status. The stereotype includes having speech and mannerisms that are considered to denote poor education and uncultured upbringing, which is reflected in their bad taste possessions and lifestyles.

From Collins English Dictionary cashed up

  1. (Austral, informal) having plenty of money

From Collins English Dictionary bogan

noun (Austral, informal)
1. a fool
2. a hooligan

Related news at Dailymail.

9

Fur coat and no knickers a British expression for someone rich and vulgar

  • 2
    Hi Eric and welcome to ELU! That is a fantastic saying, but can you provide a reference for it? – Dog Lover Mar 22 '16 at 1:13
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    I think this is usually used to refer to women, rather than men. And seems to imply having married into money, or to be married to someone who has unexpectedly become richer than their social class might suggest. A movie portrayal of a criminal such as an East End gangster in the sixties might show them as being filthy rich and spending their money on material things such as gold jewellery or fur coats for their wife / girlfriend. This phrase might then be used to describe her lifestyle. – AdamV Mar 23 '16 at 11:06
5

Parvenu is a word of French origin to describe someone low-born who now has money but not the manners usually associated with wealth.

4

Bourgeois

A rich but not a Noble person.

but it's also a synonyme of middle-class. people very focussed on possessions and behaving like the rich people. Can be pejorative

3

I think we call them Yuppies (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=yuppie). That's the closest I know, but that's generally specific to college-age people (whether new to money or inherited it).

2

Consider, new-rich and nouveau arrive/arrivé

nouveau arrivé

: a person who has recently acquired fame, power, social standing, etc.

World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions: A Resource for Readers and Writers

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    No one uses 'new-rich'. In English , it's either 'nouveau riche' or if it must be anglicized, 'new money'. – Mitch Mar 20 '16 at 15:59
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I'm kind of surprised that The Beverly Hillbillies hasn't been mentioned yet. It comes from an American Sitcom that describes the situation OP asked for almost perfectly. Using it to describe a person or group of people like the OP described is not uncommon.

  • But that isn't even a phrase used to describe someone, it is just a comparison. Which means this doesn't really answer the question. – Xandar The Zenon Mar 24 '16 at 3:02
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You could used the Chinese word for 'uncouth rich people' - tuhao (pinyin tǔ háo).

The "China has a word for its crass new rich" article on CNBC has more explanation of the nuances. For example:

Covering the inside of your Rolls-Royce with jade is tuhao. Or, the most popular use, the new gold iPhone 5s is now known in China as the "tuhao gold iPhone."

In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries was considering adding it, so it's not incredibly rare or archaic, but it seems that its influence may have waned with the recent global economic troubles.

1

While not necessarily denoting financial comfort, you could use the term philistine to describe someone who lacks appreciation of artistic or cultural values:

noun 1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.

adjective 3. (sometimes initial capital letter) lacking in or hostile to culture. 4. smugly commonplace or conventional.

Some of the synonyms listed include the already mentioned vulgarian.

From dictionary.com.

0

Yuppies are widely regarded as lacking in class. They typically aren't connected to the community and are stereotyped as nerdy and self-centered.

Of course, the word yuppie is a little restricted in meaning, but it might be a useful synonym for whatever word you choose.

Edit: Wow, I don't know how I missed Dark Word Dan's answer below mine...yuppie. I voted his answer up. I guess you can just ignore mine. ;)

0

The phrase daddy's girl is often used in this context to describe young ladies that are spoiled and pampered by their rich fathers and thus possess their father's wealth but not any class or manners due to always getting their way.

protected by Community Mar 22 '16 at 8:29

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