One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person of humble origin who has gained wealth, influence, or celebrity.‘the political inexperience of a parvenu’as modifier ‘cynical parvenu bureaucrats’
upstart, social climber, arriviste, vulgarianView synonyms
- ‘You rather liked parvenus: they had energy; they knew what they wanted.’
- ‘And yet one often hears the bitterness of a displaced generation: ‘How many out of this avalanche of parvenus will stay the course?’’
- ‘The others are parvenus and upstarts in comparison.’
- ‘He presented himself as a supremely patrician figure, so different from the vulgar parvenues of the Thatcher cabinet.’
- ‘It sounds good that some of the parvenus have volunteered to pay taxes.’
Early 19th century: from French, literally ‘arrived’, past participle of parvenir, from Latin pervenire ‘come to, reach’.
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