DEFINITION of 'Upstart'

An individual who has risen in social rank and/or economic status but who has yet to be accepted by other individuals in his or her newly found social and economic class. Upstart refers to a person who has had a sudden rise to a new class and lacks the social skills and grace that would be appropriate to the new position. It often implies arrogance or presumptuousness.


For example, an individual could go from the proverbial rags to riches following an inheritance. The upstart, who has quickly risen in economic status, has yet to learn the social skills necessary to be accepted by other people in his or her new class. An upstart can also describe a person who has suddenly been moved into a position of power or other position of consequence.

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