Where does the word “snob” come from and What does snob mean in Old Norse?

No one knows the origin of the word “snob.”

It may be related to an Old Norse word that means “dolt,” but in the late eighteenth century snob was a British slang term for a shoemaker.

Students at Cambridge took up the term and applied it somewhat more broadly to any townsman, to one not attending the university.

Perhaps some Cambridge citizens, to impress their acquaintances, began to ape the speech and mannerisms of students or lecturers at the university. It is not known.

But for some such cause, snob became applied to one who affects to be what he is not, in birth, wealth, or breeding, or to one who seeks unduly the society of persons possessing those qualities.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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