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[hwahyt-kol-er, wahyt-] /ˈʰwaɪtˈkɒl ər, ˈwaɪt-/
belonging or pertaining to the ranks of office and professional workers whose jobs generally do not involve manual labor or the wearing of a uniform or work clothes.
a white-collar worker.
Compare blue-collar.
Origin of white-collar
First recorded in 1920-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for white-collar
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was an office building for clerks and timekeepers and other white-collar workers.

    Space Platform Murray Leinster
  • But the white-collar ranks were teeming, overflowing, supersaturated.

    Gladiator Philip Wylie
  • I couldn't have been a lawyer or a clerk or a white-collar worker.

    The Lost Warship Robert Moore Williams
  • I suppose Mr. Callahan is wondering what sort of workmen to get next, since his white-collar class has left, apparently.

  • The girl emerging from high school and looking for work is usually on the lookout for what in a boy we call a "white-collar job."

    Vocational Guidance for Girls

    Marguerite Stockman Dickson
British Dictionary definitions for white-collar


of, relating to, or designating nonmanual and usually salaried workers employed in professional and clerical occupations: white-collar union Compare blue-collar, pink-collar
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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white-collar in Culture

white-collar definition

A descriptive term for office workers, who use a minimum of physical exertion, as opposed to blue-collar laborers. Managerial, clerical, and sales jobs are common white-collar occupations.

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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Slang definitions & phrases for white-collar



  1. Employed as clerks, office workers, etc: The white collar workers don't strike very often/ As early as the 1920s they were called white-collar slaves and by the 1950s nine-to-fivers
  2. Performed by people who work in offices, esp by managers, high executives, etc: White-collar crime has become a serious problem (1919+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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