Definition of highbrow in English:



  • Intellectual or rarefied in taste.

    ‘innovatory art had a small, mostly highbrow following’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So, if you thought ‘Ulysses’ was only for highbrow academics, come along and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised!’
    • ‘In the decades that followed, it developed as a popular alternative to a highbrow arts festival: a jamboree of artistic experiment and innovation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are lots of people trying to dumb down, trying to make highbrow stuff more real, more visceral.’
    • ‘I hate this attitude that classical music or the arts have to be highbrow.’
    • ‘Their literature sections are supposedly quite highbrow, but they still have lots of popular stuff.’
    • ‘He has inexpensive tastes, even if he likes highbrow culture, and has the common touch.’
    • ‘The content, however, seems less highbrow than one might have feared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘People who think that he should make the International Festival more populist, as opposed to highbrow, have clearly missed the point.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This sort of evening is not for highbrow music lovers, but for people who enjoy listening to ‘normal’ Christmas carols.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now a series of reports questioning his ability to deliver highbrow culture into the establishment may have damaged his reputation.’
    • ‘This year, the ceremony was broadcast live on arts channel BBC4, a channel so highbrow it has about six viewers.’
    • ‘That's obviously too highbrow a concept for them to comprehend.’
    • ‘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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  • A highbrow person.

    ‘she considered all those without television as highbrows, intellectual snobs, or paupers’
    • ‘According to the highbrows, the middlebrow arts relied on glib formulas which were untrue to life's real complexities.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I love these books. Mind you, I had to giggle when I read that they had been described as ‘light entertainment for 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.’
    • ‘So highbrows think I'm shallow, and everyone else thinks I'm pretentious.’
    • ‘Today, only a highbrow would take a Shakespeare play along with him.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘Perhaps worse still, it has also been relentlessly over-analyzed by film highbrows.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘The highest of the highbrows were here tonight.’
    • ‘This wasn't just a case of a few New York highbrows flaunting their refinement in reproach of Hollywood vulgarity.’
    • ‘To Lynes, the highbrow was ‘a person educated beyond his intelligence.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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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