Definition of radical chic in English:

radical chic


  • 1The fashionable affectation of radical left-wing views.

    [as modifier] ‘he completely immersed himself in the subculture of radical chic liberals’
    • ‘This time, he had gone too far with a mixed-up-media theater piece that took religion, pop culture, radical chic, symphonic pretension, and sheer gall to new extremes of bad taste.’
    • ‘Beard, beret, curly hair and bandana knotted round his throat, he was the epitome of a certain type of radical chic, rivalling that of James Dean, and his image is to be found on the walls of student rooms even today.’
    • ‘Hiding beneath the mask of radical chic lies a deeply sentimental story.’
    • ‘Bernstein, who later personified radical chic in his support of the Black Panthers, would never return to the attitude of ‘Krupke.’’
    • ‘Derrida, who taught at Harvard and the Sorbonne, became the epitome of radical chic in the intellectual world of the 1970s and 1980s with his controversial theories.’
    • ‘The poem is perhaps intended to be taken with a pinch of salt, but there is no mistaking its air of radical chic.’
    • ‘But these were largely radical chic, middle-class affairs, fought to an agenda.’
    • ‘It's for people from the suburbs who think Monet is far-out radical chic or don't know that abstract expressionism is passé.’
    1. 1.1The dress, lifestyle, or people associated with this.
      • ‘They emerged from 1960s radical chic to become America's most wanted fugitives.’
      • ‘With the emergence of the New Left and radical chic, it was inevitable that Encounter's Cold War liberalism would lose its éclat.’
      • ‘In the heyday of the hippie ethos and radical chic, Fogerty ingeniously formulated a downriver idyll of freedom and benevolence at the heart of America.’
      • ‘Writing in an era when radical chic was in high fashion, his books were always a medium for social analysis, appealing to the sensibilities of his readers.’
      • ‘In one of the stranger marriages of radical chic and conservative politics, the singer surprised delegates at a workshop on poor country debt relief by announcing he would visit Africa with the US Treasury Secretary.’
      • ‘However much contempt I have for the radical chic here at home, I have even more for the protesters abroad.’


1970: coined by US writer Tom Wolfe.