Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 30 21:28:58 UTC 2008

Interesting. I don't have this sense of "classless", although I do have the
sense of "class" that it's based on and such expressions as "got no class",
"has lots of class", "Now, that's class!", "a class act", etc. (lifelong

m a m

On Jan 30, 2008 3:40 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:

> At 3:16 PM -0500 1/30/08, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
> >On Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 07:49:31PM -0000, Michael Quinion wrote:
> >>  In Bill Mullins's note, he used the word "classless". To me, perhaps
> from
> >>  a surfeit of British preoccupations with class, that means a person
> who
> >>  does not belong to any particular social class. He's obviously using
> to
> >>  mean a person who lacks class. So far as I know, this won't work in
> >>  British English, but is it a common US form?
> >
> >Yes, quite.
> I agree.  But curiously, AHD4 doesn't seem to have registered this:
> 1. Lacking social or economic distinctions of class: a classless society.
> 2. Belonging to no particular social or economic class.
> Nor does the OED, although somehow their lacuna is more explicable
> for the reason Michael gives.  Both entries should be adjusted
> accordingly, of course.  To be sure, *classless* is compositional,
> given the relevant (count noun) sense of *class* that is claimed to
> be lacking. This sense of the noun is included in the OED s.v. CLASS,
> 5b:
> slang or colloq. Distinction, high quality;
> *no class*: of no worth; of low quality, inferior.
> but not in the AHD, whose senses include none that could make sense
> of "You got a lot of class".
> LH

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