Adjective between "well-off" and "poor"

lu_paranoid

New Member
Portuguese
I need some adjectives to describe how poor or rich someone are and i was wondering if the order is correct (from $ to $$$$$)
poverty-stricken < poor < well-off < rich < wealthy

Is it right?

One more question: is there any adjective that describes someone who is not poor but not well-off either?

Thanks!

* Please feel free to correct my English!
 
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  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    To me, rich is richer than wealthy, but that's the problem; there's no strict order, and everybody is going to have a different interpretation of the hierarchy.

    "Middle class" works; there's also "comfortable," meaning a little bit better off than average but not rich, maybe a little below "well-off". We also get into "upper middle class," "lower middle class," and things like that.
     

    papakapp

    Senior Member
    English - NW US
    I need some adjectives to describe how poor or rich someone are and i was wondering if the order is correct (from $ to $$$$$)
    poverty-stricken < poor < well-off < rich < wealthy

    Is it right?

    One more question: is there any adjective that describes someone who is not poor but not well-off either?

    Thanks!

    * Please feel free to correct my English!
    I think you could add
    poverty-stricken < poor < gets by < comfortable < well-off < rich/wealthy
     
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    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    If we are talking money then this is my order (similar to Papakapp's):

    destitute
    poverty-stricken
    poor, or "struggling to make ends meet"
    comfortably off
    fairly well off
    well off
    very well off, rich or wealthy
    very rich or very wealthy


    I wouldn't use anything with "class" in it because, as noted above, "class" need have nothing to do with money.
     

    koble

    Senior Member
    Chinese-local dialect only
    For whatever it's worth, we call that "moderately prosperous"in China, to describe the income level of middle classes.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    I completely disagree with the phrase 'middle class'. In Britain, at any rate, class is nothing whatsoever to do with wealth, it depends on your job and social position. The Upper Class is the aristocracy, people with hereditary titles and land, but often they are not at all 'well-off'. Many Middle Class people are considerably better off than some Upper Class people, and many more are extremely poor. 'middle income' or 'average income' would be more correct.
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    In AE, "middle class" has only to do with income and nothing to do with position in society. It might cover comfortably well off and fairly well off from the list above.

    However, as has been pointed out, everyone has their own descriptions, and everyone sets the ranges of income in their own way.

    Note that most people tend to minimize their own distance from the middle of the scale. "Oh, we're not so rich/poor as all that. There are lots of people who are richer/poorer than we are."
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    Second that. In the US the middle class is defined by income only.

    Also, the US middle class spans over a sizeable range of income. A families earning 40K or 300K a year still belong to the middle class.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I completely disagree with the phrase 'middle class'. In Britain, at any rate, class is nothing whatsoever to do with wealth, it depends on your job and social position.
    I appreciate that the term may not be to your liking, but it exists. I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it; a wealthy chav is not middle-class and a poverty-struck barrister, who (say) has had a private education, probably is. It is an attitude of mind and social behaviour.
    In AE, "middle class" has only to do with income and nothing to do with position in society. It might cover comfortably well off and fairly well off from the list above.
    The class system in the US is quite different from the UK system. The UK system bears comparison with the Hindu Caste system.

    How would you place the characters in "The Beverly Hillbillies"? In the UK, they'd probably be lower-working class.
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    Thus the use of such terms as "lower middle," "middle middle," and "upper middle" class. :eek:
    Yes. Exactly. But even that is very broadly defined: a person earning from 80-90K and up to a few hundred K's a year may be considered belonging to the upper middle class.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    I appreciate that the term may not be to your liking, but it exists. I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it; a wealthy chav is not middle-class and a poverty-struck barrister, who (say) has had a private education, probably is. It is an attitude of mind and social behaviour.
    I meant I disagree with using the term 'middle class' to describe income, since that is completely incorrect in British English, and afaik even in parts of America as well. I'm sure a Harvard graduate who moves in the high social circles with the rich and famous fallen upon hard times would still be considered Upper Class there.

    The UK system bears comparison with the Hindu Caste system.
    Not even slightly. It is topical to the thread to provide a brief rebuttal to that, since the issue of class vs income comes into Indian English as well:

    Indian castes are socio-economic groups arranged in a hierarchy, which were historically hereditary and endogamous. Like in Britain (as well as America) the lower classes of caste tended to have more menial jobs and the upper classes had more prestigious jobs. Some people in India might use 'class' as a kind of synonym for caste, but unlike in Britain and America, there is no caste mobility whatsoever: if you are born a dalit, you could become president of India, buy up a huge estate, become a high ranking guru, do anything that is associated with the higher castes, but you will always be a dalit. It is simply a category. Even a dalit adopted into a brahmin family is still a dalit. Britain's class system is not dictated by holy scriptures, it is extremely new compared to India's, and it is extremely mobile: many working class people go to university and become decidedly middle class, it is based mostly on profession and lifestyle rather than birth.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I'm afraid we will drift off-topic but I did say,bears comparison to, not is the same as. I am aware of and agree with a lot of what you write but in the UK, true class mobility is, nevertheless, the exception rather than the norm, as class is often dictated by background.
     
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