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Origin of the Word Snob

When Oxford and Cambridge Universities decided to admit commoners as students in the 1600s, the unprecedented flood of new innovative thought had a tremendous impact on British society. Each student was listed on the record by name and title. The commoners’ names were listed with the Latin inscription, Sine Nobilitate, meaning without nobility. The abbreviation was S. Nob., which within the rigid class systems of the time had both positive and negative connotations. The word “snob” is still in use today.

Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992