The other day, my friend asked me to clarify the meaning of bourgeois (and its accompanying noun, bourgeoisie). This is a great example of how words evolve. Originally, it simply referred to the middle class, those who made their living rather than inheriting it. But it’s come to particularly describe the state of being both materialistic or status-conscious and uncultured. Think of it as truly being caught in the middle — looked down on by the rich as unsophisticated, and dismissed by the lower classes as entitled or indulgent. Not a compliment, and not something you probably want to describe yourself as unless you are very, very self-aware.
After my quick rundown of this, my friend said, “Oh, like the Pottery Barn magazine?” Exactly.