Alain de Botton, in his book Status Anxiety, points out that in the 1820s the word ‘snob’ emerged from Oxbridge, where colleges often wrote ‘s.nob’, short for ‘sine nobilitate’ — without nobility.

‘In the word’s earliest days,’ he writes, ‘a snob was taken to mean someone without high status, but it quickly assumed its modern and almost diametrically opposed meaning: someone offended by a lack of high status in others, a person who believes in a flawless equation between social rank and human worth.’

Source: How Brexit gave us a different class of snob

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