Babbitt metal.
a bearing or lining of Babbitt metal.
pertaining to or made of Babbitt metal.
to line, face, or furnish with Babbitt metal.
Irving, 1865–1933, U.S. educator and critic.
Milton Byron, 1916–2011, U.S. composer.
(italics) a novel (1922) by Sinclair Lewis.
(often lowercase) a self-satisfied person who conforms readily to conventional, middle-class ideas and ideals, especially of business and material success; Philistine: from the main character in the novel by Sinclair Lewis.
Contemporary Examples

Sinclair Lewis’s satirical 1922 novel babbitt became a national phenomenon.
American Dreams: ‘Babbitt’ by Sinclair Lewis Nathaniel Rich March 18, 2012

Though babbitt turns ninety this year, Georgie babbitt still lives and breathes and harrumphs.
American Dreams: ‘Babbitt’ by Sinclair Lewis Nathaniel Rich March 18, 2012

What, babbitt wonders in another quiet moment, is it all about?
American Dreams: ‘Babbitt’ by Sinclair Lewis Nathaniel Rich March 18, 2012

The most startling thing about babbitt today is not its satire but the haunting, if brief, moments of introspection.
American Dreams: ‘Babbitt’ by Sinclair Lewis Nathaniel Rich March 18, 2012

babbitt is cornered in his office, threatened, and ostracized; his friends turn into menacing henchmen.
American Dreams: ‘Babbitt’ by Sinclair Lewis Nathaniel Rich March 18, 2012

Historical Examples

babbitt was what he called a “joiner” for all these reasons.
Babbitt Sinclair Lewis

But, what I’m gettin’ at is this: babbitt’ll come to me orderin’ me to get Leander exempted.
Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln

After the meeting, delegates from all over the state said, “Hower you, Brother babbitt?”
Babbitt Sinclair Lewis

“By—,” began Mr. babbitt again, but this time it was Captain Sam who interrupted.
Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln

babbitt had recovered from his touchy wrath before Joe returned.
Babbitt Sinclair Lewis

(transitive) to line (a bearing) or face (a surface) with Babbitt metal or a similar soft alloy
(US, derogatory) a narrow-minded and complacent member of the middle class

“conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman,” 1923, from George Babbitt, title character of Sinclair Lewis’ novel (1922).

His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the selling of houses for more money than people could afford to pay. [Sinclair Lewis, “Babbitt,” 1922]

(1922) A novel by Sinclair Lewis. The title character, an American real estate agent in a small city, is portrayed as a crass, loud, overoptimistic boor who thinks only about money and speaks in clichés, such as “You’ve gotta have pep, by golly!”

Note: By extension, a “Babbitt” is a narrow-minded, materialistic businessman.


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    any of various alloys of tin with smaller amounts of antimony and copper, used as an antifriction lining for bearings. any of various similar alloys. Historical Examples There seems to be much less wear between cast-iron and Babbitt metal than between bronze and Babbitt metal. Steam Turbines Hubert E. Collins In this case there requires […]

  • Babbittry

    the attitude and behavior of a Babbitt.

  • Babble

    to utter sounds or words imperfectly, indistinctly, or without meaning. to talk idly, irrationally, excessively, or foolishly; chatter or prattle. to make a continuous, murmuring sound. to utter in an incoherent, foolish, or meaningless fashion. to reveal foolishly or thoughtlessly: to babble a secret. inarticulate or imperfect speech. foolish, meaningless, or incoherent speech; prattle. a […]

  • Babbler

    a person or thing that babbles. any of the birds of the family Timaliidae, many of which have a loud, babbling cry. Historical Examples It is difficult to live amongst men, because silence is so difficult— especially for a babbler. Thus Spake Zarathustra Friedrich Nietzsche Under this mask which resembles him, I will drive away […]

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