- Irving,1865–1933, U.S. educator and critic.
- Milton Byron,1916–2011, U.S. composer.
- (italics) a novel (1922) by Sinclair Lewis.
- (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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (tr) to line (a bearing) or face (a surface) with Babbitt metal or a similar soft alloy
- US derogatory a narrow-minded and complacent member of the middle class
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
Word Origin and History for irving babbitt
"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
By extension, a “Babbitt” is a narrow-minded, materialistic businessman.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.