Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 30 21:38:08 UTC 2008

At 4:28 PM -0500 1/30/08, Mark Mandel wrote:
>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

Once place to look is a random sample of the 3,360 g-hits for
"classless behavior", or the 13,300 for "classless act" (many
involving a perceived lack of sportsmanship in the context of
professional or collegiate athletics).


>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
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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