I recently had to update my profile for a job role and I used the phrase "born and bred in xxxx" to indicate that I was born and raised in a certain part of the world. I always thought born and bred generally means that the person was born and brought up in a certain place and has typical cultural characteristics that are usually associated with that place.

However, someone pointed out that it also denotes a sense of pride, eminence, and perhaps social superiority. It was also pointed out to me that the phrase would typically be used by someone who does have a sense of social superiority but never by someone who comes from not so affluent a background.

I tried searching, but couldn't really confirm this connotation. Is there such a connotation associated with the phrase born and bred?

  • Note that it's possible to use that disparagingly: "He's a fool, born and bred." – Robusto Feb 14 '20 at 21:40
  • Australians are culturally egalitarian - valuing mateship, hard yakka and a rebellious free spirit (at least that’s the myth we tell ourselves). Traits of simple frontier folk, not affluent city folk. “Born and bred in the bush” evokes pride but not “eminence” and “affluence”. There might have been irony in this usage, but no longer: eg. The Wild Colonial Boys - Born and bred in the bush, bushrangers Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall and Thunderbolt eluded police and became heroes. and Born and bred in the bush they enjoyed the bush ethos as a birthright. (Social Patterns in Australian Literature) – Orbital Aussie Feb 14 '20 at 21:44
  • One, avoid cliches in Profile, it's not considered good. Two, the idiomatic phrase actually emphasises on the person's nature/ culture/ personality, that being a result of his upbringing in a certain environment. It doesn't just mean what it literally says. Beware idioms and their peculiar usage. – Kris Feb 15 '20 at 6:09
  • Show your research. Look up the phrase in a good dictionary or just Google it! Good Luck. – Kris Feb 15 '20 at 6:10

I don't think it always has that connotation, but it's sometimes used in contexts that emphasize it. For instance, in the following exchange:

Are you from Yorkshire?
Yes, born and bred there.

The answer could have been a simple, neutral "Yes". Adding "born and bred" for emphasis often implies pride about it.

However, the pride doesn't always mean social superiority. A lower class person might be proud of being self-sufficient rather than being born with a silver spoon.

  • The expression does not have upper class overtones. Its use does, however, connote a certain pride in the place. Perhaps the temptation to link it to has something to do with the fact that 'good breeding' does have class overtones. – Tuffy Feb 14 '20 at 21:53
  • Not necessarily upper class, but being proud of something suggests that it's superior in some way. – Barmar Feb 14 '20 at 21:54
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    Not necessarily. the pride I have in being born and bred in Britain does not lead me to think that it is superior to other countries, or that I am superior to their citizens. – Tuffy Feb 14 '20 at 22:01
  • Then why are you so proud of it, if there's nothing great about it? – Barmar Feb 14 '20 at 22:02
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    Why am I proud of my children and grandchildren? I love them, and the good things they do are special to me just as my country of birth is. – Tuffy Feb 14 '20 at 22:05

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