a person of superior intellectual interests and tastes.
a person with intellectual or cultural pretensions; intellectual snob.
the crestfish.


Also high·browed. of, relating to, or characteristic of a highbrow.

Origin of highbrow

First recorded in 1895–1900; high + brow
Related formshigh·brow·ism, noun

Synonyms for highbrow

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for highbrow

Contemporary Examples of highbrow

Historical Examples of highbrow

  • I've heard these highbrow chaps talking about the Mob and the Tasteful Few.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • I could get onto the sedan styles in highbrow talk as long as it was in American.

    Free Air

    Sinclair Lewis

  • In spots it listens like highbrow book stuff, and then again it don't.

  • The intelligentsia rushed to the rescue with highbrow hue and cry.


    Lawton Mackall

  • I got a notion I want to see you do something that isn't in your highbrow programme.

    Flappers and Philosophers

    F. Scott Fitzgerald

British Dictionary definitions for highbrow



a person of scholarly and erudite tastes

adjective Also: highbrowed

appealing to highbrowshighbrow literature
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 highbrow

"person of superior intellect and taste," 1902, back-formation from high-browed (adj.), which is attested from 1891, from high (adj.) + brow (cf. also lowbrow).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper