Antedating of "Yuppie"

Sun Dec 28 20:02:35 UTC 2008

The New York Times has this apparent variant from 9/28/1980:
"Mr. [Arthur] Miller himself speaks in the voice of his characters, despite having acquired certain characteristics of the country squire in the years since he moved to a renovated 1740 farmhouse on a hillside in Roxbury, Connecticut. . . . Delighted by rural life, Mr. Miller is what another writer who lives in the neighborhood refers to as a "yupper <> " - a refugee from New York who mingles easily with the local populace."
The article does not further define "yupper," and Arthur Miller by this time was 64, making his status as a young urban professional somewhat questionable.  However, I see that Urban Dictionary does include a definition for "yupper" as "A young city or suburban resident with a well-paid professional job and an affluent lifestyle," and that sounds a lot like a yuppie.
John Baker


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Shapiro, Fred
Sent: Sat 12/27/2008 5:37 PM
Subject: Antedating of "Yuppie"

OED's first use of _yuppie_ is dated 1984.  Barry Popik has pushed the word back to a 1981 occurrence in the Chicago Tribune.  An earlier citation is asserted by Wikipedia:

Dan Rottenberg (May 1980). "About that urban renaissance.... there'll be a slight delay", Chicago Magazine, p. 154ff.

I have not verified the 1980 cite in the original, although the Chicago provenance seems quite plausible.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                                            Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and        YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press
Yale Law School                                           ISBN 0300107986
e-mail: fred.shapiro at

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list