A parvenu is an upstart, somebody who's suddenly rich but doesn't fit into his new social status. If you're a parvenu, people might also describe you as "nouveau-riche" or an "arriviste." Maybe it's not quite so insulting in French.

The Beverly Hillbillies, a sitcom from the 1960s, featured the Clampetts, classic parvenus who strike oil in their backwoods swampland. They arrive at their mansion in Beverly Hills, dressed in overalls, in their pick-up truck, with their shabby furniture strapped on top. As parvenus, they don’t fit in — to say the least. Parvenu is from French, and it's the past participle of parvenir, "arrived."

Definitions of parvenu
  1. 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, nouveau-riche, upstart
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    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
  2. adjective
    characteristic of someone who has risen economically or socially but lacks the social skills appropriate for this new position
    synonyms: nouveau-riche, parvenue, upstart
    making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction
  3. adjective
    of or characteristic of a parvenu
    synonyms: parvenue
    not of long duration; having just (or relatively recently) come into being or been made or acquired or discovered
Word Family
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