Definition of parvenu in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpärvəˌn(y)o͞o/
often derogatory


A person of obscure origin who has gained wealth, influence, or celebrity: the political inexperience of a parvenu [as modifier]: he concealed the details of his parvenu lifestyle
More example sentences
  • The others are parvenus and upstarts in comparison.
  • He presented himself as a supremely patrician figure, so different from the vulgar parvenues of the Thatcher cabinet.
  • And yet one often hears the bitterness of a displaced generation: ‘How many out of this avalanche of parvenus will stay the course?’


Early 19th century: from French, literally 'arrived', past participle of parvenir, from Latin pervenire 'come to, reach'.

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