Shock people who are conventional or complacent.
- ‘Whether this was born of a genuine revolutionary spirit or just to épater les bourgeois probably no longer matters.’
- ‘Did her interest in photography owe as much to a real feeling for art or journalism as it did to an almost erotically charged desire, only too common among bored suburban teenagers, to épater les bourgeois?’
- ‘If his views are sincerely held, there sometimes seems to be an element of pour épater les bourgeois in his expression of them.’
Early 20th century: French, literally startle, shock.