Definition of petit bourgeois in English:

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petit bourgeois

Pronunciation: /ˌpedē ˈbo͝orZHwä/
Pronunciation: /pəˌtē bo͝orˈZHwä/


Of or characteristic of the lower middle class, especially with reference to a perceived conventionalism and conservatism: the frail facade of petit bourgeois respectability
More example sentences
  • Still, it was the stifling petit bourgeois respectability of Charleville which engendered the incandescent talent of Arthur Rimbaud, probably the first and still arguably the greatest of adolescent rebel angels.
  • He has some lovely things to say about Corot, but disparages his later work because Corot's petit bourgeois mentality led him to refuse ‘to speculate on how the world could be changed.’
  • Those of the right followed the lead of the petit bourgeois movement which was really a comprehensive attempt by small shopkeepers to limit or thwart their growth, claiming they were destroying the traditional artisan industry.

noun (plural petits bourgeois pronounced same)

A member of the lower middle class, especially when perceived as conventional and conservative.
Example sentences
  • The genre is traceable to The Diary of a Nobody, in which the brothers Grossmith introduced Charles Pooter, the epitome of the petit bourgeois.
  • But I cannot imagine these lines in Pollock's mouth, and not just because of all that separates the medieval aristocrat from the modern petit bourgeois.
  • He followed in the tradition of Pierre Poujade, whose protest movement of irate petit bourgeois wielded a similar thorn in the waning days of the Fourth Republic.


French, literally 'little citizen'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pet·it bour·geois

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