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So Google defines condescension as "an attitude of patronizing superiority; disdain." Is there a word for patronizing disdain for the upper classes and general elite things? Background: I was talking to a friend about how I've always wanted to go to the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show and she made a grimacing face. She likes flowers well enough so I asked her why she didn't seem to approve and suggested that the long royal fancy pants name turned her off. Bingo.

Edit: An example sentence would be "I always wanted to go to University, but my father regarded higher education with [X], and said that those professors spent so much time being clever they had forgotten how to tie their shoelaces."

Edit: My friend demonstrated her ______ feelings when she was turned off by the flower show's florid and posh name.

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  • Hi IdiotSavant, welcome to English Language & Usage. You might not be aware that there are strict rules for single-word-requests: "To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. You must include a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used." [My emphasis]. You can add these details by clicking on the edit link. :-) Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 11:52
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    1) look at more definitions. Google somehow picks one out of many. 2) 'disdain' works
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 12:59
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    It's a form of inverse snobbery.
    – user23614
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 14:13
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    There's always antiestablishmentari‌​anistic. And how often to you get a chance to trot that out?
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 4:58
  • Condescention works both ways, it doesn't have to just be from upper to lower class Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 19:55

3 Answers 3

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The word classism, like its relatives racism, sexism, and nationalism, implies (unfair) prejudice or discrimination on the basis of socio-economic class. However, in my experience it has somewhat less of a sharp edge than those other words. Classism is a two-way relationship- the rich can exhibit classism toward the poor, the poor toward the rich, and the middle class in both directions.

The adjective form classist fits your example:

My friend demonstrated her classist feelings when she was turned off by the flower show's florid and posh name.

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"Proletarian" might be relevant here. Your examples could work with '...but my father regarded higher education with proletarian disdain...' and 'My friend demonstrated her proletarian feelings/sentiments...'.

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My generation would call your friend a "pinko" (from: "watered-down Red" or, Communist).

Referencing the hippie movement in the 60's - "pinko" was another term for "hippie", emphasizing the political philosophy of the movement, i.e, the "classless society". This enlightened ideal, where all is shared equally among the people, has been espoused for hundreds of years, but has been proven to be practically impossible - due to fundamental flaws in human nature.

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    The question asks "Is there a word for patronizing disdain for the upper classes and general elite things?". I can't see how "pinko" is an answer to that question. Instead, your answer seems to be entirely political and philosophical in nature. PS "pinko" was a derisive term for a (suspected) communist, not specifically a hippie; the "squares" simply assumed all hippies were also communists. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 3:56
  • Without knowing the full historical context of the "pinko," I think your definition of it approximates what I want to mean. I think it's inevitable to broach political terms to get an answer for my question. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 20:17
  • It's still condescension, of course. You are still "looking down" on something, even if that something is generally regarded as higher class, as "high-falutin'" or "snooty" or "uppity" or "putting on airs". Or, if you're a fan of "Miller's Crossing", "Are you giving me the high-hat?" Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 20:43

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