Being a Snob is a Bad Thing

3/5/2016 ; updated: 3/26/2023

Today’s example was a Verge article titled Oh my heavens, the British went and made a Top Gear for wine snobs, but i’ve been annoyed at this usage for a long time. Being a snob does not make you sophisticated. Being a snob doesn’t even mean you like the subject in question (e.g., wine). It means you use your knowledge of the subject as a means to draw a social distinction between you and other clods you perceive as beneath you.

Maybe The Verge is trying to put down the show’s audience (I didn’t actually read the article), but I hear it a lot. This usage may have started as a form of ironic self-deprecation, but it has become so overused that I no longer hear that.

How about enthusiast? Of if you really need a word with an air of sophistication, a connoisseur? Of course, you can call yourself anything you want, but if I call you a snob, it won’t be a complement.