- pertaining to or made of Babbitt metal.
- to line, face, or furnish with Babbitt metal.
Origin of babbitt
First recorded in 1900–05; short for Babbitt metal
- 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
Examples from the Web for babbitt
Though Babbitt turns ninety this year, Georgie Babbitt still lives and breathes and harrumphs.
What, Babbitt wonders in another quiet moment, is it all about?
The most startling thing about Babbitt today is not its satire but the haunting, if brief, moments of introspection.
Sinclair Lewis's satirical 1922 novel Babbitt became a national phenomenon.
A whisper campaign begins, and soon Babbitt finds himself blacklisted from Zenith society.
Babbitt, looking like a triumphantly vicious Bantam rooster, crowed on.
"'Twas—'twas Cap'n Sam he was goin' to tell," he whispered, pointing at Babbitt.
"Mr. Babbitt and I have just been discussing some points connected with the war," he observed.
Babbitt jerked his shoulder from Grover's grasp and strode to the door.
He just thinks Babbitt was circulatin' lies about Ruth—about your sister.
- (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 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.