[hwahyt-kol-er, wahyt-]


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

Related Words for white-collar

clerical, salaried, executive, office, professional

Examples from the Web for white-collar

Contemporary Examples of white-collar

Historical Examples of white-collar

  • 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.


    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 occupationswhite-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

white-collar in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.