I heard someone describing another as "a high and fine person". I couldn't find this phrase online. It is certainly not high and dry as it doesn't fit the context of their conversation. I wonder if it is American slang and what is the meaning of it?

My guess on high and fine is a person with integrity and admirable personalities?

There was an answer posted by a member with quoted Google Source: The O'Ruddy. I don't know why the answer was deleted. I think that answer fits right. High and fine shares the same meaning as well-bred.

Consolidated the sources provided by members for easy reference. Seems like high and fine is used with a positive connotation.

Google Source: The O'Ruddy -- provided by @Mari-Lou A and @Justin

The crowd was too high and fine; many of the people were altogether too well bred.

Google Source: Mark Twain -- provided by @Mitch

High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.” -- Mark Twain

Google Source:

The commission may issue a liquor retailer's permit only to a high grade club, restaurant, or hotel, which has a high and fine reputation for decency and law obedience. In no case shall a liquor retailer's permit be issued or stand unrevoked if the owner, manager, or management of the establishment is not a person of strict integrity and high repute, or if the premises have been padlocked.

  • With out the actual context it is hard to say what was meant, My initial reaction to high and fine was a connection with Drug or alcohol use. Possibly meaning he's happy because he has had a few drinks or a smoke. If the exact words were "a high and fine person" (which I cannot imagine anyone who is a native speaker using in normal conversation). I have no idea. Could It be a foreign national using a native term in his language translated to English?
    – Brad
    Aug 24, 2019 at 4:11
  • it does not appear to be AmE slang
    – lbf
    Aug 24, 2019 at 14:13
  • 1) I don't think I've ever encountered that phrase before but that only means that it is it it probably not common currently. 2) Google has lots of examples. That it seems to be a phrase Mark Twain used at least once leads one to think that it isn't not American slang.
    – Mitch
    Aug 24, 2019 at 16:21
  • More context needs to be provided. Barring that, another possible interpretation is that high means upper class. So high and fine would mean well off and decent. Aug 24, 2019 at 20:48
  • 2
    On the off chance you didn't know, you can accept Justin's answer by clicking on the grey checkmark that is under the bottom arrow. It will turn green, and you'll also receive two rep points as a bonus.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 25, 2019 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


I can closely link "a high and fine person" to well-bred (From Dictionary.com) -



: well brought up; properly trained and educated: a well-bred boy.

Example sentence (linking "high and fine" with well-bred) -

The crowd was too high and fine; many of the people were altogether too well-bred.

(From Google books)

  • 3
    Just using "high and fine" in a sentence with "well-bred" doesn't make the connection in any convincing way. This really doesn't answer the question.
    – Robusto
    Aug 24, 2019 at 5:18
  • I'm trying to imply that I agree with the OP's guess - "high and fine is a person with integrity and admirable personalities"
    – Justin
    Aug 24, 2019 at 5:20
  • Also, I haven't even made that connection myself (i forgot to reference it). It's from here - thesaurus.com/browse/well-bred
    – Justin
    Aug 24, 2019 at 5:22
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA - Can I use your source in my answer?
    – Justin
    Aug 24, 2019 at 5:39
  • That example still doesn't lock in an equivalence. For this to work, your thesaurus.com citation would have to demonstrate that "high and fine" is a synonym of "well-bred"—which it does not.
    – Robusto
    Aug 24, 2019 at 13:27

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