Someone who's nouveau-riche has recently become wealthy and enjoys spending money. Your nouveau-riche neighbor might buy six expensive cars and put lion sculptures in his front yard.

The term nouveau-riche is a derogatory term meant to mock people who have a lot of money but don't have the good taste to spend it in a "classy" way. The implication is that it's more socially acceptable to inherit money and the long traditions that go with it than to suddenly become wealthy. Nouveau-riche, "new rich" in French, dates from 1813, but the idea goes back to the ancient Greek concept of neo-ploutos.

Definitions of nouveau-riche
  1. adjective
    characteristic of someone who has risen economically or socially but lacks the social skills appropriate for this new position
    synonyms: parvenu, parvenue, upstart
    making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction
  2. noun
    a person who has suddenly risen to a higher economic status but has not gained social acceptance of others in that class
    synonyms: arriviste, parvenu, upstart
    see moresee less
    climber, social climber
    someone seeking social prominence by obsequious behavior
    term of address for a disrespectful and annoying male
    someone who tries to attract social lions as guests
    type of:
    disagreeable person, unpleasant person
    a person who is not pleasant or agreeable
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week