French word of the day: Bobo

French word of the day: Bobo
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This is one of the most common ways to poke fun at Parisians.

Why do I need to know bobo?

It's one of those expressions that you are bound to hear if you spend some time in France, especially Paris, which also teaches you a lot about cultural subtleties in France.

What does it mean?

Bobo is a portmanteau of the words bourgeois (referring to middle-class people in society) and bohème (referring to their bohemian lifestyle), which is used about a certain class of people, notably in Paris, where the term originated. 

Bobo generally is used to stereotype a certain kind of lifestyle enjoyed by the upper-middle classes in the central neighbourhoods of Paris.

Un bobo is someone who typically eats organic (bio) food, votes for left-wing candidates in elections, and tends to be well-educated. They are wealthy but tend to be quite liberal in their views. 

Essentially bobo means Champagne Socialist (also known as gauche caviar in French).

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Bobo was introduced to the English language by cultural commentator David Brooks, who describes them as “highly educated folk who have one foot in the bohemian world of creativity and another foot in the bourgeois realm of ambition and worldly success”. 

Bobos are the descendants of Yuppies (Young urban professionals) and you can use the word to describe both the people who enjoy the lifestyle and also the foods and items associated with this lifestyle, such as organic vegetables. 

Use it like this

Ici il n'y a que des petits bobos qui bouffent du bio emballé dans du pastic et se plaignent du réchauffement climatique. – At Sciences Po there are only small caviar socialists who eat organic foods wrapped in plastic and complain about global warming. 

On va chez McDo? Il n'y a pas de bobos là-bas. – Let's go to McDonald’s? There won't be any bobos here.

J'aime trop ces petits cocktails de bobo, c'est tellement bon. – I love these little posh cocktails, it's so good.

Tu dois arrêter tes arguments de bobo. Réfléchis un peu. – You need to stop with your bobo arguments. 


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