Upstart vs. new-rich

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Chinese - Hong Kong
Since the Chinese reform and opening, more and more “upstarts” or “new-riches" are emerging.

Are they both correct in my context? If so, which one is more common? Thank you.
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    My prior understanding of "upstart" is the second from the dictionary : "an arrogant or presumptuous person". Looking it up I found that it derives from the meaning you intend: someone who has recently risen from poverty to wealth. In any case, it is not common to describe them. While some may have that characteristic, I'd suggest something more neutral like "more and more people are becoming wealthy".


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The French phrase (adopted in the English language) "nouveau riche" is used in this context, but note that it is usually in a derogatory way.

    Nouveau riche - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Nouveau riche (French: 'new rich' [nuvo ʁiʃ]) is a term, usually derogatory, to describe those whose wealth has been acquired within their own generation, rather than by familialinheritance. The equivalent English term is the new rich or new money (in contrast with "old money"/"vieux riche")


    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I agree with Packard that "nouveau riche" could be used to describe these people, but we tend not to use the phrase as a noun. That is, we wouldn't say "a nouveau riche has emerged," nor would we say "many nouveaux riche are emerging."
    < Previous | Next >