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high and mighty

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noun Usually the high and mighty .(used with a plural verb)
persons who are members of or identify with the higher social strata of society, especially those who are powerful or arrogant.
adverb
in a self-important, grandiose, or arrogant manner: They talk high and mighty, but they owe everyone in town.Now don't go getting all high and mighty on me.
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Origin of high and mighty

First recorded in 1400–50; Middle English: originally a title of dignity

Other definitions for high and mighty (2 of 2)

high-and-mighty
[ hahy-uhn-mahy-tee, -uhnd- ]
/ ˈhaɪ ənˈmaɪ ti, -ənd- /

adjective
haughty; arrogant.

OTHER WORDS FROM high-and-mighty

high-and-might·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

BEHIND THE PHRASE

What does high and mighty mean?

High and mighty is often used as an adverb meaning in an arrogant or self-important manner, as in Please stop acting so high and mighty—you’re not the boss here.

The word mighty means strong, powerful, or of great importance.

When someone acts as if they are superior or in charge, they can be said to be acting high and mighty. This is especially the case when they’re not actually superior or in charge.

High and mighty can also be used as an adjective, in which case it’s often hyphenated (high-and-mighty), as in Take your high-and-mighty attitude elsewhere—we work as a team here.

The phrase can also be used as a collective noun to refer to people who are considered powerful, as in The high and mighty take too much and give too little. The word mighty can be used in the same way, as in The rich and mighty hold all the power.

Example: Don’t get all high and mighty with me—I’m the one who trained you.

Where does high and mighty come from?

The first records of the phrase high and mighty come from around 1400.

Originally, being called high and mighty was a good thing—it was a title given to high-born rulers. By the 1600s, though, it came to be used to describe those who acted as if they were superior to those around them, as if they were royalty and everyone else was peasants. This is still how high and mighty is used today.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to high and mighty?

  • high-and-mighty (hyphenated adjective)
  • high and mightiness (noun)

What are some synonyms for high and mighty?

What are some words that share a root or word element with high and mighty

What are some words that often get used in discussing high and mighty?

How is high and mighty used in real life?

High and mighty is almost always used in a negative way.

Try using high and mighty!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of high and mighty?

A. conceitedly

B. arrogantly

C. haughtily

D. humbly

How to use high and mighty in a sentence

Other Idioms and Phrases with high and mighty

high and mighty

Conceited, haughty, as in She was too high and mighty to make her own bed. This expression originally alluded to high-born rulers and was being transferred to the merely arrogant by the mid-1600s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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