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Definition: Usually, this word is a descriptor tacked onto the sound of the voice of someone from a “higher class” (UK, think “Posh”; U.S., think “Yuppie”) as well as their way of speaking; said voice usually sounds smooth, controlled, and full.

However, this word is usually accompanied by a slight curl of the upper lip at its intention, and a feeling of derision coming from the user. This is not a flattering word for those who qualify.

Pronunciation: plum-MEE

Origin: Modern English.

Why this word?

Unfortunately, it seems that there are known social classes and echelons in just about every human society on earth. As a people, we have this innate ability to instinctively differentiate and recognize our “betters”, and compare them to ourselves.

Sometimes, a little competition can be healthy– for those who receive a friendly competitive attitude often react to it by wanting to push their limits, stretch their boundaries, and strive to complete goals set higher than what they’re comfortably used to. Wanting to go “Harder, better, faster, stronger”, playing the theme from ‘Rocky’, and “Eye Of The Tiger” in the background; that kind of stuff. Those are healthy senses of competition, juxtaposing one’s value against another’s.

The problems arise when someone uses their perceived sense of personal Betterness to dismiss the existences of other people. When someone who comes from a so-called moneyed background dismisses the struggles or individual experiences and perception of another human being, or said moneyed person lends their allowed influences to dictate and shape society against those seen as ranking “below” them– The attitude is no longer of healthy competition. Instead, it’s leaning into subjugated, marginalizing territory. That’s dark stuff. That’s what makes the fundamental veins of racism and bigotry and religious intolerance. That’s the stuff of which rebellion and anarchist uprisings are made.

And, also unfortunately– I can bet big money that every single person who ever reads this article will have, at one point, felt belittled and put down by someone who has told you something along the lines of “You’re nothing, compared to me and what I have/can do/can get.”

I chose this word because I can guarantee that almost every person alive has heard and understands the feeling of the presence of a “plummy” person, and their definitive voice.

How do you use the word plummy in a sentence?

Example: The woman curled her lip and stared down her nose at him, pointedly looking at his too-big clothes and worn shoes. “I believe you might be lost, young man,” she said primly, her voice rolling with notes of plummy derision around the vowels.


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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.


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