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[wosp] /wɒsp/ Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive.

a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
a member of the privileged, established white upper middle class in the U.S.
any social hymenopterous insect of the family Vespidae, esp Vespula vulgaris (common wasp), typically having a black-and-yellow body and an ovipositor specialized for stinging See also potter wasp, hornet related adjective vespine
any of various solitary hymenopterans, such as the digger wasp and gall wasp
noun acronym (in the US)
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: a person descended from N European, usually Protestant stock, forming a group often considered the most dominant, privileged, and influential in American society

acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, 1962, often said to have been coined by University of Pennsylvania sociologist E. Digby Baltzell (1915-1996), but first recorded reference is in an article by E.B. Palmore in “American Journal of Sociology.”

Old English wæps, wæsp, altered (probably by influence of Latin vespa) from West Germanic *wabis- (cf. Old Saxon waspa, Middle Dutch wespe, Dutch wesp, Old High German wafsa, German Wespe, Danish hveps), from PIE *wobhes-/*wops- (cf. Latin vespa, Lithuanian vapsa, Old Church Slavonic vosa “wasp,” Old Irish foich “drone”), perhaps from *webh- “weave” (see weave (v.)). If that is the correct derivation, the insect would be so called for the shape of its nest. Wasp-waist in reference to women’s figures is recorded from 1870 (wasp-waisted is from 1775).

An acronym for “white Anglo-Saxon Protestant” — a member of what many consider to be the most privileged and influential group in American society.


[WWI British military; origin unknown; perhaps because the student’s name was washed or scrubbed from the roster]
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant
World Association for Social Psychiatry


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