Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A narrow-minded, self-satisfied person with an unthinking attachment to middle-class values and materialism.
  • Babbitt, Irving 1865-1933. American humanist and scholar whose New Humanism movement sought to revive interest in classical virtues in literary criticism.
  • Babbitt, Milton Byron Born 1916. American composer whose works, including Vision and Prayer (1961) for soprano and synthesizer, combine serial music and electronic effects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who subscribes complacently to materialistic middle-class ideals

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To line with Babbitt metal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. line with a Babbitt metal
  • n. an alloy of tin with some copper and antimony; a lining for bearings that reduces friction

Etymologies

After George F. Babbitt, the main character in the novel Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Named after the title character in Sinclair Lewis' 1922 novel, Babbit. Also popularised by the George and Ira Gershwin song "The Babbitt and the Bromide," featured first in the 1927 musical "Funny Face" and later in the film Ziegfeld Follies (1945). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • SECRETARY BABBITT: He said, Secretary Babbitt, with all due respect, don't you think that the issues being discussed today are way below the level of presidential involvement and even dubious for a Secretary of the Interior to be involved in.

    Babbitt And Pena Briefing In Costa Rica

  • Now, I'm a big Ira Gershwin fan, but I admit that it took me a while, and for the reason that I think Babbitt is hinting at here: Ira Gershwin's lyrics deliberately and consistently call attention to themselves.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Stephen: You are implying that Babbitt was saying that all composition should be for a specialized audience, when the article explicitly says the opposite — Babbitt is arguing that highly esoteric serialism, etc., should have a forum even though it's small, not that it should replace all other musical vocabularies.

    Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it

  • Babbitt is furthermore a man with the gift of speech.

    Nobel Prize in Literature 1930 - Presentation Speech

  • Babbitt is naive, and a believer who speaks up for his faith.

    Nobel Prize in Literature 1930 - Presentation Speech

  • If Rush read Kirk or Burnham or Nisbet he would think they were "liberals" or "left wingers" because of their concern with local community, with restricting presidential power, with their opposition to what they called "democratic imperialism", a phrase Babbitt coined in opposition to Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy.

    The American Spectator

  • a title Babbitt greatly disliked, contributing to its notoriety and convincing many that Babbitt simply wrote music for his own amusement.

    The Guardian World News

  • The town of Zenith for "Babbitt" -- that's Cincinnati.

    Sinclair Lewis: Rebel From Mainstreet

  • LAMB: The book, "Babbitt" -- when was that written, and what was it about?

    Sinclair Lewis: Rebel From Mainstreet

  • The name Babbitt passed into general usage to represent the optimistic, self-congratulatory, middle-aged businessman whose horizons were bounded by his village limits.

    Five People Born on February 7 | myFiveBest

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Comments

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  • Dagnabbit.

    April 20, 2011

  • Just because it rhymes, I suspect.

    April 20, 2011

  • (But why?)

    April 20, 2011

  • Undoubtedly John Cabot, the discoverer of Newfoundland.

    April 20, 2011

  • What do you think Cabots refers to?

    April 20, 2011

  • Let's pretend we're bunny rabbits
    Let's do it all day long
    Let abbots, Babbitts and Cabots
    Say Mother Nature's wrong
    And when we've had a couple'o'beers
    We'll put on bunny suits
    I long to nibble your ears
    And do as bunnies do

    ("Let's pretend we're bunny rabbits", by The Magnetic Fields)

    April 20, 2011