Chattering classes

Chattering classes

The chattering classes is a generally derogatory[1] term first coined by Auberon Waugh[2] often used by pundits and political commentators to refer to a politically active, socially concerned and highly educated section of the "metropolitan middle class,"[1] especially those with political, media, and academic connections. It is sometimes used to refer to a liberal elite, but its first use by British right wing polemicist Frank Johnson in 1980 appeared to include a wider range of pundits.[1] Indeed, the term is used by people all across the political spectrum to refer to the journalists and political operatives who see themselves as the arbiters of conventional wisdom.[3] As such, the notion of 'chattering classes' can be seen as an antonym to the older idea of an unrepresented Silent Majority (made famous by the U.S. Republican President Richard Nixon).

In the United States, the term has come to be used by both the right and left-wings to describe political opponents, with Stephen Perrault of the Merriam-Webster dictionary suggesting that the term has "connotations of idleness, of useless talk, that the noun 'chatter' does. [...] These people don't amount to much — they like to hear themselves talk."[4]



In London's Evening Standard, the journalist Anne McElvoy described herself and other similar people as being "metro-trendies", a self-deprecating way of describing people who live in urban areas who hold fashionable views on social issues, in this case the issues of civil unions and same-sex marriage.[5]

See also

  • Nattering nabobs of negativism


  1. ^ a b c Chattering Classes, 2006 Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ P.McGuinness chattering classes first coined by Auberon Waugh, 2004 Sydney Morning Herald
  3. ^ See, for example, Walter Gretzky's honour, The Globe and Mail, December 29, 2007, p. A20
  4. ^ Kornblut, Anne E. The Peculiar Power of the Chattering Class, New York Times. April 2, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  5. ^ Right-wing or just right-on? Welcome to woolly Britain

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chattering Classes — (englisch, deutsch etwa „Klatschkreise“[1]) ist im angloamerikanischen Sprachraum ein anti intellektuelles, pejoratives politisches Schlagwort zur Bezeichnung von Angehörigen der gebildeten linksliberalen Mittelschicht. Dem Webster s New World… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • chattering classes — plural noun (derogatory) The section of society, usu the educated or well informed, who are in the habit of discussing and commenting on social, economic, political, etc issues • • • Main Entry: ↑chatter * * * noun the chattering classes Brit… …   Useful english dictionary

  • chattering classes — n. 〚? < living room political discussion groups in London in late 1980s〛 intellectuals, literary and media people, etc. as a group usually thought of as being liberal in discussing political and social issues * * * …   Universalium

  • chattering classes — n. [? < living room political discussion groups in London in late 1980s] intellectuals, literary and media people, etc. as a group usually thought of as being liberal in discussing political and social issues …   English World dictionary

  • chattering classes — N PLURAL: usu the N (disapproval) The chattering classes are people such as journalists, broadcasters, or public figures who comment on events but have little or no influence over them. [BRIT, JOURNALISM] Radical feminism is currently the… …   English dictionary

  • chattering classes — /ˈtʃætərɪŋ klasəz/ (say chatuhring klahsuhz) plural noun that section of society which is regarded as engaging in unproductive and ill informed debate about public issues: *the intellectual classes are often dismissed as the chattering classes… …   Australian English dictionary

  • chattering classes — noun educated people with liberal opinions and attitudes …   Wiktionary

  • (the) chattering classes — the chattering classes UK [ˈtʃætərɪŋ ˌklɑːsɪz] US [ˈtʃætərɪŋ ˌklɑsəz] noun [plural] british mainly journalism showing disapproval educated middle class people who like to express their opinions This word shows that you do not approve of people… …   Useful english dictionary

  • the chattering classes — derogatory educated people, esp. those in academic, artistic, or media circles * * * the chattering classes Brit disapproving : educated people who like to talk about politics, culture, society, etc. • • • Main Entry: ↑chattering classes …   Useful english dictionary

  • (the) chattering classes — British, humorous educated people who like to discuss and give their opinions about political and social matters. Football has recently become a trendy topic among the chattering classes …   New idioms dictionary

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