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babbitt

[bab-it] /ˈbæb ɪt/
noun
2.
a bearing or lining of Babbitt metal.
adjective
3.
pertaining to or made of Babbitt metal.
verb (used with object)
4.
to line, face, or furnish with Babbitt metal.
Origin of babbitt
1900-1905
First recorded in 1900-05; short for Babbitt metal

Babbitt

[bab-it] /ˈbæb ɪt/
noun
1.
Irving, 1865–1933, U.S. educator and critic.
2.
Milton Byron, 1916–2011, U.S. composer.
3.
(italics) a novel (1922) by Sinclair Lewis.
4.
(often lowercase) a self-satisfied person who conforms readily to conventional, middle-class ideas and ideals, especially of business and material success; Philistine: from the main character in the novel by Sinclair Lewis.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for babbitt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • babbitt, looking like a triumphantly vicious Bantam rooster, crowed on.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "'Twas—'twas Cap'n Sam he was goin' to tell," he whispered, pointing at babbitt.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "Mr. babbitt and I have just been discussing some points connected with the war," he observed.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • babbitt jerked his shoulder from Grover's grasp and strode to the door.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • He just thinks babbitt was circulatin' lies about Ruth—about your sister.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for babbitt

babbitt

/ˈbæbɪt/
verb
1.
(transitive) to line (a bearing) or face (a surface) with Babbitt metal or a similar soft alloy

Babbitt

/ˈbæbɪt/
noun
1.
(US, derogatory) a narrow-minded and complacent member of the middle class
Derived Forms
Babbittry, noun
Word Origin
C20: after George Babbitt, central character in the novel Babbitt (1922) by Sinclair Lewis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for babbitt

Babbitt

n.

"conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman," 1923, from George Babbitt, title character of Sinclair Lewis' novel (1922).

His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the selling of houses for more money than people could afford to pay. [Sinclair Lewis, "Babbitt," 1922]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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babbitt in Culture

Babbitt definition


(1922) A novel by Sinclair Lewis. The title character, an American real estate agent in a small city, is portrayed as a crass, loud, overoptimistic boor who thinks only about money and speaks in clichés, such as “You've gotta have pep, by golly!”

Note: By extension, a “Babbitt” is a narrow-minded, materialistic businessman.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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