Snob is a pejorative term referring a person who believes there is a innate correlation between social status and all human worth, or one who believes that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect, wealth, education, ancestry, power, physical strength, class, taste, beauty, nationality, fame, or extreme success of themselves, a family member or friend in some specific realms. It is believed to have originated with reference to various uses of either the Latin sine nobilitate or the French sans noblesse, both indicating "without nobility".
- Mike: What do you mean snob?
Tracy: You're the worst kind there is. An intellectual snob. You made up your mind awfully young, it seems to me.
Mike: Well, thirty's about time to make up your mind. And I'm nothing of the sort, not Mr. Connor.
Tracy: The time to make up your mind about people — is never.
- Always judge your fellow passengers to be the opposite of what they strive to appear to be.
For instance, a military man is not quarrelsome, for no man doubts his courage; but a snob is.
- Thomas Chandler Haliburton, in The Letter-bag of the Great Western; of Life in a Steamer (1840), p. 99
- Every age has its temptations, its weaknesses, its dangers. Ours is in the line of the snobbish and the sordid.
- Rutherford B. Hayes, in his Diary (11 May 1875)
- The Art Snob can be recognized in the home by the quick look he gives the pictures on your walls, quick but penetrating, as though he were undressing them. This is followed either by complete and pained silence or a comment such as 'That's really a very pleasant little water color you have there.'
- Russell Lynes, Snobs (1950)
- The Art Snob will stand back from a picture at some distance, his head cocked slightly to one side. … After a long period of gazing (during which he may occasionally squint his eyes), he will approach to within a few inches of the picture and examine the brushwork; he will then return to his former distant position, give the picture another glance and walk away.
- Russell Lynes, Snobs (1950)
- And here's a marvelous one, quoted from Sonia by Stephen Spender. "Auschwitz, oh, dear no! That person was never in Auschwitz. Only in some very minor death camp." The ultimate in English snobbery.
- A man is not more entitled to be "received in good society," or at least to wish to be, because he is more intelligent and cultivated. This is one of those sophisms that the vanity of intelligent people picks up in the arsenal of their intelligence to justify their basest inclinations. In other words, having become more intelligent creates some rights to be less. Very simply, diverse personalities are to be found in the breast of each of us, and often the life of more than one superior man is nothing but the coexistence of a philosopher and a snob. Actually, there are very few philosophers and artists who are absolutely detached from ambition and respect for power, from "people of position." And among those who are more delicate or more sated, snobism replaces ambition and respect for power in the same way superstition arises on the ruins of religious beliefs. Morality gains nothing there. Between a worldly philosopher and a philosopher intimidated by a minister of state, the second is still the more innocent.
- Marcel Proust, in his "Notes" to Sesame and Lilies by John Ruskin, translated by Proust (1906); from Marcel Proust: On Reading Ruskin, trans. Jean Autret and William Burford (1987), p. 152
- He who meanly admires mean things is a Snob.
- William Makepeace Thackeray, The Book of Snobs (1848), ch. 2
- It is impossible, in our condition of Society, not to be sometimes a Snob.
- William Makepeace Thackeray, Book of Snobs, Chapter 3
- The periodical press is not only a purveyor of news, opinions, and admonitions; it also supplies the greater part of the literature currently read. ...The standards of excellence that govern this periodical literature... must in no way hamper the purposes of the advertisers. ...Taken in the aggregate, the literary output is designed to meet the tastes of that large body of people who are in the habit of buying freely. The successful magazine writers... follow the taste of the class to whom they speak... They must also conform to the fancies and prejudices of this class as regards the ideals—artistic, moral, religious, or social—for which they speak. The class... is that great body of people who are in moderately easy circumstances. ...the respectable middle class ... of various shades of conservatism, affectation, and snobbery.
- Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of Business Enterprise (1904) pp. 387-388
- "Snobbery" is here used without disrespect, as a convenient term to denote the element of strain involved in the quest for gentility on the part of persons whose accustomed social standing is less high or less authentic than their aspirations.
- Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of Business Enterprise (1904) p. 388, footnote 2.