[ Issue 7 ]

Yuppies are a particular interest of Emily Bronto

Permit Bikwil to acquaint you with the fascination of Yuppies


Harlish Goop continues his search for great acronyms.  Along the way he sheds more light on the word "yuppies". 

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A Word in Your Pink Shell-like — Harlish Goop


In the November 1997 issue I discussed acronyms, and this has prompted jeneric of North Sydney to question the origin of "yuppie". Doesn't it derive from "Young Upwardly-mobile Professional Person", rather than from "Young Urban Professional + p + ie", as given in my column?

Actually the former interpretation is the one I myself would have quoted, had I not checked (in the 1990 Macquarie Dictionary of New Words). I suspect, too, it’s what 90% of people at any dinner party would say. Now that jeneric has raised it, I've researched this whole matter further — in Nigel Rees' Why Do We Say . . . ? (1987), the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed. 1989), the Oxford Dictionary of New Words (1991), and the Macquarie Book of Slang (1996).

Between them, these five tools give all sorts of fascinating ancillary info — such as examples in print dating back to 1982, extensions like "Yupspeak" and "yupmobile", as well as the crucial explanation of how the confusion probably originated.

All concede that, although strictly speaking its derivation is "urban professional", “yuppie” has too long been interpreted as "upwardly mobile professional/person/people" for that meaning to be discounted. According to the Oxford Dictionary of New Words,

At first (1982-4) "yuppie" competed with the form "yumpie" (which included the "m" of "upwardly-mobile"), but this form was perhaps too close to the verb "yomp", with its military route-march associations, to succeed.

So it looks as though counter-gravitational movement is here to stay, even to the extent of these analogous creations:

buppie (= black . . .)
guppie (= gay (US)/green (UK) . . .)
woopie (= well-off older person)
glam (= greying leisured affluent middle-aged).

After the ’87 stock-market crash, however, a reaction inevitably set in, and we got things like "yuffie" (= young urban failure), and the one jeneric is partial to, "puppy" (= previously upwardly . . .).

jeneric also offered another acronym that's new to me but apparently a favourite with travel agents booking cruises, "lolita", which stands for "Little Old Lady In Trendy Area".

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