the highest social class.
The noun phrase upper crust is perfectly plain, self-explanatory: it is the top crust on a loaf of bread or a pie, a meaning the phrase has always had. Other meanings have come and gone, e.g., “exterior layer or surface of the earth” (from the mid-16th through the mid-18th centuries), “a person’s head; a hat” (from about 1825 to 1850). The most common meaning of upper crust, “the highest social class,” was originally an Americanism dating from the 19th century. Upper crust entered English in the 15th century.
… the 1922 edition of Etiquette promised its readers that they could learn to fit in among intimidating elites, or just emulate the American upper crust within their own circles.
From his perspective, graffiti forced the upper crust to reckon with the names and the fugitive dreams of a forgotten underclass …
the quality or state of lacking confidence in one's ability, worth or fitness; timidity.
Diffidence is a straightforward borrowing from the Latin noun diffīdentia “distrust, mistrust, lack of confidence.” In the Vulgate, the Latin version of the Bible prepared chiefly by Saint Jerome at the end of the 4th century a.d., diffīdentia also meant “lack of faith, disobedience (to God).” The original sense of diffīdentia, “distrust of other people,” is obsolete; the current sense “distrust of one’s own ability or worth,” shading off to “modesty, retiring nature,” dates from the mid-16th century. Diffidence entered English in the 15th century.
For an artist, insofar as modesty implies diffidence, an unwillingness to exhibit oneself or one’s work, it’s a virtue so dubious as to be a handicap.
I write with great diffidence, but it seems to me that there is no unfairness in punishing people for their misfortunes, or rewarding them for their sheer good luck …
amusing or witty remarks or writings.
Facētiae is a Latin plural noun meaning “skillfulness, cleverness, wittiness.” It is a derivative of the adjective facētus “clever, good-humored, whimsical,” which has no reliable etymology. In the olden days, in less enlightened and progressive times than our own—say about 1850—facetiae was used in book catalogs as a euphemism for pornography (now also called erotica). Facetiae entered English in the 16th century.
Even the facetiae of the gallant expressman who knew everybody’s Christian name along the route, who rained letters, newspapers, and bundles from the top of the stage … failed to interest me.
… you had better beware how you excite that comic vein to its fullest current of facetiae.
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