On Sun, 4 Feb 2018 17:38:13 -0800 (PST), Madrigal Gurneyhalt
>On Monday, 5 February 2018 00:36:34 UTC, Dingbat wrote:
>> Origin of the epithet "egghead"?
>> One opinion, from a posting:
>> The reason that people really seem to hate academics is because of their
>> ability to study and learn that allows them to use critical thinking to
>> deflate well-loved myths and prejudices. Such dislike is exemplified by
>> use of the epithet "egghead, a term in common use by right-wingers in
>> the 50s to denigrate the intellectuals and academics supporting Adlai
>> Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential campaign.
>> In the American English slang, egghead is an anti-elitist epithet used to
>> refer to intellectuals or people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary
>> people and too lacking in realism, common sense, sexual interests, etc. on
>> account of their intellectual interests. It was part of a widespread
>> anti-elitist social movement that insisted that credentialed intellectuals
>> were not the only smart people, but that serious human intelligence could
>> be found widespread among ordinary people regardless of class, race or
>Well it's a nice theory but it does rather collapse when you discover that
>the origins of the term appear to be the 1900s rather than the 1950s. Its
>roots would appear to be visual primarily, the stereoptypical genius having
>a brain so large that the head is too big for hair and, at least in its earliest
>days a term of affection often used by eggheads themselves.
There is the similar, earlier, "high-brow" which started as
"high-browed". "Egghead" is just a descriptive term for a person with a
Etymology: < high adj. + browed adj.
Sense A. 2 is probably based on the belief that a high forehead
indicates greater than average intellect: compare, for example,
quot. 1828 at high adj. 5a and contrast earlier low-browed adj. 2.
2. fig. colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.). = highbrow adj.
Cf. low-browed adj. 2.
1876 B. Taylor Echo Club 88 No marvel of much wisdom Eustace
was,—You know him, Hal,—no high-browed intellect.
low-browed, adj. and n.
a. Of a person or (in later use) a hominid or skull of a hominid:
that has a low brow.
Frequently depreciatively, with the implication of a small brain
or primitive evolutionary status, and therefore a lack of
intelligence, breeding, or cultured and civilized behaviour (cf.
lowbrow adj. 1).
1734 London Mag. Jan. 39/2 The low-brow'd Muse, that gives
malignance birth, As oft excites our anger, as our mirth.
a1748 C. Pitt tr. Æneid (1753) III. vi. 249 From that celestial
energy began The low-brow'd brute; th'imperial race of man; The
painted birds, [etc.].
high, adj. and n.2
a. Of a person's forehead: large in distance from the eyes or
eyebrows to the hairline or top of the head.
Cf. high-browed adj. 1.
?c1450 tr. Bk. Knight of La Tour Landry (1906) 22 (MED) Whanne
the pie sawe a balled or a pilled man, or a woman with an high
1597 Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet ii. i. 18 I coniure thee by
Rosalindes bright eye, high forehead, and scarlet lip.
egg-head | egghead, n.
Etymology: < egg n. + head n.1
colloq. (orig. U.S.).
An intellectual, a ‘highbrow’. Also attrib.
1907 O. Johnson in Sat. Evening Post 16 Nov. 9/1 His genius
lived in the nicknames of the Egghead,..Morning Glory, [etc.].
c1918 C. Sandburg Let. (deposited in Toledo-Lucas County Public
Library, Toledo, Ohio) Dear N. D...‘Egg heads’ is the slang here
for editorial writers.
Peter Duncanson, UK