Where does the word “Highfalutin” come from and What does Highfalutin mean?

The word “Highfalutin” has been in the written language of America since 1839, so it was undoubtedly in wide use in much earlier common speech.

But, regrettably, not until we reach a lexicographer’s idea of heaven can the source of the term or the name of its coiner be ascertained.

Bartlett (Dictionary of Americanisms, 1877) quotes a speech delivered in 1848 by Leslie Coombs, thus:

where does the word highfalutin come from and what does highfalutin mean

“I was at the Barnburner’s convention in Utica, and the first person I heard was a good-looking, fat, rosy-looking man, who got up and ground out what we term at the West a regular built fourth-of-Julystar-spangled-banner, times-that-tried-men’s-souls, Jefferson speech, making gestures to suit the highfalutens.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.