Definition of highbrow in English:

highbrow

adjective

derogatory
  • Intellectual or rarefied in taste:

    ‘innovatory art had a small, mostly highbrow following’
    • ‘Now a series of reports questioning his ability to deliver highbrow culture into the establishment may have damaged his reputation.’
    • ‘It certainly isn't that we are particularly highbrow - I love intellectual stuff, but also Friends, chick lit and most films with Meg Ryan in.’
    • ‘This year, the ceremony was broadcast live on arts channel BBC4, a channel so highbrow it has about six viewers.’
    • ‘There are lots of people trying to dumb down, trying to make highbrow stuff more real, more visceral.’
    • ‘I was going to say that it is not the type of book that I would normally have much time for, because it is published by Bloomsbury, and their stuff is usually a bit highbrow for me.’
    • ‘But I'd have to say the blogosphere and Internet has given City Journal, a pretty highbrow magazine overflowing with thoughtful, long essays, a lot more readers.’
    • ‘That's obviously too highbrow a concept for them to comprehend.’
    • ‘People who think that he should make the International Festival more populist, as opposed to highbrow, have clearly missed the point.’
    • ‘I hate this attitude that classical music or the arts have to be highbrow.’
    • ‘So, if you thought ‘Ulysses’ was only for highbrow academics, come along and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised!’
    • ‘I think that artists and the cultural sector can often seem unnecessarily highbrow.’
    • ‘Although the ballet may not receive great acclaim from highbrow ballet lovers, it has had 6,000 performances overseas and organizers are confident Chinese audiences will respond warmly.’
    • ‘He has inexpensive tastes, even if he likes highbrow culture, and has the common touch.’
    • ‘Their literature sections are supposedly quite highbrow, but they still have lots of popular stuff.’
    • ‘Philippe Garrel is also one of those figures: a director with fanatic followers in the most highbrow circles of film criticism.’
    • ‘Woke up this morning to a very highbrow debate on Radio National between George Monbiot, Christopher Hitchens and Lewis Lapham on the death of the Left.’
    • ‘In the decades that followed, it developed as a popular alternative to a highbrow arts festival: a jamboree of artistic experiment and innovation.’
    • ‘The content, however, seems less highbrow than one might have feared.’
    • ‘This sort of evening is not for highbrow music lovers, but for people who enjoy listening to ‘normal’ Christmas carols.’
    • ‘With all due respect the Yeats Summer School is a bit highbrow, appeals only to the few, and is generally regarded as a tourist attraction.’
    intellectual, scholarly, bookish, cultured, cultivated, academic, educated, studious, serious, donnish, bluestocking, well read, widely read, well informed, sophisticated, erudite, learned
    brainy, egghead
    lettered, clerkly
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noun

derogatory
  • A highbrow person:

    ‘she considered all those without television as highbrows, intellectual snobs, or paupers’
    • ‘What the highbrows seemingly fail to realize is that low culture always has been and always will be there, just as high culture has and will be.’
    • ‘The highest of the highbrows were here tonight.’
    • ‘There was a time when modern art was nobody's idea of fun. The lowbrows thought it was boring. The highbrows thought it was serious.’
    • ‘This wasn't just a case of a few New York highbrows flaunting their refinement in reproach of Hollywood vulgarity.’
    • ‘Expressing concerns that at first seem far removed from Rockwell's sensibility, highbrows also repeatedly warned of the mass media's power to encourage a false - and dangerous - sense of group solidarity.’
    • ‘Orwell wrote, in his great wartime essay The Lion and the Unicorn, that ‘the Bloomsbury highbrow with his mechanical snigger is as out-of-date as the cavalry colonel’.’
    • ‘Today, only a highbrow would take a Shakespeare play along with him.’
    • ‘I love these books. Mind you, I had to giggle when I read that they had been described as ‘light entertainment for highbrows’.’
    • ‘They think that, like the hicks of Holcomb and the fawning highbrows of Manhattan's literary salons, we will be won over by his wit and charm.’
    • ‘Perhaps worse still, it has also been relentlessly over-analyzed by film highbrows.’
    • ‘In the current rush to condemn the so-called ‘highbrow,’ many seem to forget that highbrows are individuals who have worked for years in order to appreciate art at its most subtle level.’
    • ‘According to the highbrows, the middlebrow arts relied on glib formulas which were untrue to life's real complexities.’
    • ‘The tone won't appeal to highbrows, but this is the closest thing to a second Tocqueville we are likely to find.’
    • ‘Edward was not an irredeemable highbrow, and he insisted that one of the most significant moments of his life was getting to meet Cyd Charisse.’
    • ‘To Lynes, the highbrow was ‘a person educated beyond his intelligence.’’
    • ‘After a summer that has found all the highbrows giggling at the fact they liked Peter Frampton all along, here comes a real guilty pleasure.’
    • ‘So highbrows think I'm shallow, and everyone else thinks I'm pretentious.’
    intellectual, scholar, academic, bluestocking, bookish person, man of letters, woman of letters, don, thinker, pedant
    egghead, brain, bookworm
    brainbox, boffin
    brainiac, rocket scientist, brahmin
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Pronunciation

highbrow

/ˈhʌɪbraʊ/