From the ongoing Hollywood scandal over “pay for play” inscription at Universities…

It is often noticed by under-privileged students that there seems to be preference given to wealthy applicants to USA universities. The rich can afford special preparatory academies, and their children often pad their resumes with doubtful “accomplishments”.

An example…

Olivia Jade Giannulli revealed that when she was applying to colleges, she "wasn't fully aware of what was going on," and had been living in a bubble where paying a college recruiter was the norm.

"When it first happened I didn't look at it and say, 'Oh my God like how dare we do this?' I was like, 'Why is everybody complaining? I was confused what we did.' That's embarrassing to admit," she said, adding that she was a good high school student, but didn't deserve to be at USC.

“Living in a bubble” is broad, and “entitled” usually connotes a “Karen” type.

Karen is a pejorative slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people's behaviors.

Is there a better phrase or idiom to describe a person who lives a privileged life, and is unaware of how unjust that actually is?

  • Marie Antoinette—limited in empathy, generous of pastry. Dec 8, 2020 at 22:13
  • Well, in the Britain of the 20th century, you might speak of a Bertie Wooster. At university in the 1960's, people would talk of 'a hooray Henry'.
    – Tuffy
    Dec 8, 2020 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


Here on the Eastern side of the Atlantic the nearest I can get is they are "born with a silver spoon in their mouth".

= to be born to parents who are rich and have a good social rank; someone who is born into privilege and wealth.

The British aristocracy was popular to use silver wear when dining and the phrase is speculated to have originated from the spoons particularly because wealthy godparents had a tradition of gifting silver spoons to their godchildren when they would be christened. Source: theidioms.com

The Idioms

and a contemporary example:

UK politicians “born with silver spoons in their mouths, who went to private schools and elite universities” were responsible for the current impasse in parliament, but were unlikely to suffer the direct consequences of their actions, he said.


And, in my life I have always heard it used in this way, to indicate someone who enjoys wealth and privilege but does not question their right to be so fortunate.

  • 4
    It's a familiar idiom in the U.S. as well - hence Ann Richards (Governor of Texas from 1991-1995) describing George H. W. Bush as having been "born with a silver foot in his mouth"
    – user888379
    Dec 8, 2020 at 22:41
  • 1
    @user888379 I like that! Gives me great respect for American wit, same way as Dorothy Parker's "She runs the gamut of human emotion all the way from A to B", and Tom Lehrer's ""sliding down the razor blade of life". The trouble with these witticisms is that they are so good that you can hardly repeat them even in the right circumstances without having to acknowledge the source. But I digress ...
    – Anton
    Dec 8, 2020 at 22:47

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