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Irving babbitt

[bab-it] /ˈbæb ɪt/

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.
(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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