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Yuppie (short for "young urban professional" or "young upwardly-mobile professional")[1] is a term that first came into use in the 1980s which refers to a financially secure, upper-middle-class young person in their twenties or early thirties.[2]



Although the term yuppies had not appeared until the early 1980s, there was discussion about young urban professionals as early as 1968.

Critics believe that the demand for "instant executives" has led some young climbers to confuse change with growth. One New York consultant comments, "Many executives in their 20s and 30s have been so busy job-hopping that they've never developed their skills. They're apt to suffer a sudden loss of career impetus and go into a power stall."[3]

Joseph Epstein is incorrectly credited for coining the term in 1982.[4] An early printed appearance of the word is in a May 1980 Chicago magazine article by Dan Rottenberg.[5] The term gained currency in the United States in 1983 when syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene published a story about a business networking group founded in 1982 by the former radical leader Jerry Rubin, formerly of the Youth International Party (whose members were called yippies); Greene said he had heard people at the networking group (which met at Studio 54 to soft classical music) joke that Rubin had "gone from being a yippie to being a yuppie". The headline of Greene's story was From Yippie to Yuppie.[6][7] The proliferation of the word was effected by the publication of The Yuppie Handbook in January 1983 (a tongue-in-cheek take on The Official Preppy Handbook[8]), followed by Senator Gary Hart's 1984 candidacy as a "yuppie candidate" for President of the United States.[2] The term was then used to describe a political demographic group of socially liberal but fiscally conservative voters favoring his candidacy.[9] Newsweek magazine declared 1984 "The Year of the Yuppie", characterizing the salary range, occupations, and politics of yuppies as "demographically hazy".[2]

In a 1985 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Theressa Kersten at SRI International described a "yuppie backlash" by people who fit the demographic profile yet express resentment of the label: "You're talking about a class of people who put off having families so they can make payments on the BMWs ... To be a Yuppie is to be a loathsome undesirable creature". Leo Shapiro, a market researcher in Chicago, responded, "Stereotyping always winds up being derogatory. It doesn't matter whether you are trying to advertise to farmers, Hispanics or Yuppies, no one likes to be neatly lumped into some group".[2]

Later, the word lost its political connotations and, particularly after the 1987 stock market crash, gained the negative socio-economic connotations that it sports today. On April 8, 1991, TIME proclaimed the death of the yuppie in a mock obituary.[10]

Notable cultural depictions of yuppies

Related terms

See also


  1. ^ Algeo, John (1991). Fifty Years Among the New Words: A Dictionary of Neologisms. Cambridge University Press. pp. 220. ISBN 0-521-413-77X. 
  2. ^ a b c d Burnett, John; Alan Bush. "Profiling the Yuppies". Journal of Advertising Research 26 (2): 27–35. ISSN 0021-8499. 
  3. ^ Kessler, Felix. "Executive Promotion Path: Fast Track for Young Managers". Management Review 57 (3): 25. ISSN 0025-1895. 
  4. ^ Ayto, John (2006). Movers And Shakers: A Chronology of Words That Shaped Our Age. Oxford University Press. pp. 128. ISBN 0-198-614-527. 
  5. ^ Dan Rottenberg (May 1980). "About that urban renaissance.... there'll be a slight delay". Chicago Magazine. p. 154ff. 
  6. ^ Budd, Leslie; Whimster, Sam (1992). Global Finance and Urban Living: A Study of Metropolitan Change. Routledge. pp. 316. ISBN 0-415-070-97X. 
  7. ^ Hadden-Guest, Anthony The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night New York:1997--William Morrow Page 116
  8. ^ Living: Here Come the Yuppies!, Time, January 9, 1984
  9. ^ Moore, Jonathan (1986). Campaign for President: The Managers Look at '84. Praeger/Greenwood. pp. 123. ISBN 0-865-691-320. 
  10. ^ Shapiro, Walter (1991). "The Birth and -- Maybe -- Death of Yuppiedom".,9171,972695-1,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  11. ^ Will Lee (28 April 2000). "Things that Make You Go Hmmm...". Entertainment Weekly.,,276085,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  12. ^ a b R.Z. Sheppard (June 24, 2001). "Yuppie Lit: Publicize or Perish". TIME magazine.,9171,145267,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  13. ^ Mary Ellen Mark (August 1996). "Jay Watch". Elle magazine UK. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  14. ^ Tom Brook (5 November 1999). "Showdown at the Fight Club". BBC. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  15. ^ Girl with Curious Hair at
  16. ^ American Psycho: a double portrait of serial yuppie Patrick Bateman
  17. ^ American Psycho
  18. ^ Arizona Daily Wildcat: 'American Psycho' ties yuppie greed to serial killing
  19. ^ George Mason University: Into the Wilds of an American Psycho's Identity: Parallels between Into the Wild & American Psycho
  20. ^ Filmmaker Magazine: "Die Yuppie Scum!"
  21. ^ Goddard College Pitkin Review: "The Pen is Mightier: Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho"
  22. ^ Entertainment Weekly: Book News: "American Psychodrama"
  23. ^ Patricia Hersch (October 1988). "thirtysomethingtherapy: the hit TV show may be filled with "yuppie angst," but therapists are using it to help people". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  24. ^ Rodriguez, Gregory (2008-02-25). "White like us". Los Angeles Times.,0,1952462.column. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  25. ^ "Wall Street Review". Channel 4 (UK). 
  26. ^ "imdb "Yuppy Love" episode profile". imdb (UK). 
  27. ^ a b Ayto 2006, p. 225.
  28. ^ The American Heritage Abbreviations Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Reference Books. 2002. p. 89. ISBN 0-618-249-524. 
  29. ^ Dale, Rodney; Puttick, Steve. Wordsworth Dictionary of Abbreviations & Acronyms. pp. 44. ISBN 1-853-263-850. 
  30. ^ Merriam-Webster (1991). The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories. p. 141. ISBN 0-877-796-033. 
  31. ^ Tom VanRiper. “Going Green Cuts Profits”. The New York Daily News, 2005-4-22. Retrieved on 2008-11-11
  32. ^
  33. ^ Algeo 1991, p. 228.
  34. ^ Packhard, Randall M. (2004). Emerging Illnesses and Society: Negotiating the Public Health Agenda. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 156. ISBN 0-801-879-426. 

External links

  • Yuppies entry in the St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture

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