Definitions

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

  • adj. Aspiring to or emulating the middle class.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having social aspirations; or pretending to be middle class

Etymologies

From the practice of putting lace curtains in the windows (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Barstow's special subject, in such novels as the wonderful A Kind of Loving inset left, was what he called the "lace-curtain working class" - the "respectable poor" who, as the friend invoked in his autobiography explains, are acquainted with "poverty, but not squalor".

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • Sounding every bit the lace-curtain, pursed-lipped scold, and looking for all the world like a well-coiffed, portly incarnation of what writer Katherine Anne Porter once described as "one of those Irish Catholic girls born with an ingrained fear of sex," Gallagher upbraided Moakler, who is also the director of the Miss California U.S.A. organization, for her "tone" and the organization's response to Prejean.

    Michael Rowe: Regarding Miss California, At Least Anita Bryant Could Sing

  • His home life and mother—yes, I can do my mother—a set of characters in herself, a lace-curtain Bernhardt who can soak you in guilt but also tell you a story with six characters, do a voice for each one of them and come up with a punch line.

    Last Words

  • She was a woman with decidedly aristocratic pretensions, indoctrinated with the idea that she was “lace-curtain Irish,” as opposed to the shanty kind with its stereotypes of drinking, lawlessness, laziness, rowdiness, all the things which—to the degree that ethnic generalities have any meaning—come from that side of their national character that makes the Irish fun.

    Last Words

  • Pat was dismissed early on by Ma as “being a Carlin” and having the “dirty, rotten Carlin temper” and I became in her eyes “a Bearey,” a scion of her superior, cultured, lace-curtain ancestry.

    Last Words

  • They argued over who was more Irish: the lace-curtain Irish versus the shanty Irish.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family

  • Two guineas, one hunky funky lace-curtain Irish mick.

    Paul Krassner: Don Imus Meets Michael Richards

  • If Hillary were Irish, she'd definitely be lace-curtain.

    Maureen Dowd, assuming Obama will lose because he didn't pick Hillary, pictures the great Hillary-Palin presidential debate in 2012.

  • Judging from the 24 arrests made by British police in connection with the latest plot, they are sometimes polite young men who live in tidy middle-class houses in the lace-curtain suburbs of London.

    The New Age of Terror

  • And part of that had to do with the women who started out as servant girls, who sent money home and brought male relatives over and went on to be the mothers of the famous lace-curtain householders.

    The Mother's Dilemma

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