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babbitt

[ bab-it ]
/ ˈbæb ɪt /
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noun

a bearing or lining of Babbitt metal.

adjective

pertaining to or made of Babbitt metal.

verb (used with object)

to line, face, or furnish with Babbitt metal.

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Origin of babbitt

First recorded in 1900–05; short for Babbitt metal

Definition for babbitt (2 of 2)

Babbitt
[ bab-it ]
/ ˈbæb ɪt /

noun

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. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for babbitt (1 of 2)

babbitt
/ (ˈbæbɪt) /

verb

(tr) to line (a bearing) or face (a surface) with Babbitt metal or a similar soft alloy

British Dictionary definitions for babbitt (2 of 2)

Babbitt
/ (ˈbæbɪt) /

noun

US derogatory a narrow-minded and complacent member of the middle class
Babbittry, noun
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

Cultural definitions for babbitt

Babbitt

(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!”

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.
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