Stuck in traffic downtown Miami, I was entertained by the sight of a window sign.
When a quick scan of the last encounter of the word “high-class” returned with references of the bygone times, probe was in order.
Merriam Webster had two definitions; simple definition read:
very fancy, wealthy, or expensive,
full one read:
of superior quality or status or degree; first-rate.
Example: a high-class hotel.
Further down the list was a few additional meanings one including belonging to, or exhibiting the characteristics of an upper social class.
Example: a high-class lady, a high-class prostitute.
Perplexed as to why “high-class lady” and the “high-class prostitute” were gestated together I couldn’t help but wonder if they were identical or fraternal…
More importantly, what exactly was the evolution of the word and why did it recess from the luxury lexicon?
[hahy-klas, -klahs] Origin of high-class 1860-1865
Quick look through the 1900s
A High Class Burglary
The robbery which occurred on Massachusetts Avenue last week was strictly high class. It was a burglary in every sense of the word.
Washington’s High Class Amusement Resort
Excellent picnic facilities; 20 acres of shade, pure spring water and adequate car service.
Cadle’s High Class Cigarettes
Featuring William Charles “Charlie” Athersmith, an English professionalfootballer who played as a winger on the cover of the pack!
Thorne’s High Class Confectionery
High-class Opium Houses
Big opium shops located in western-style buildings with good ventilation carriageways.
Everybody needs one night
High-class New England Accent
Mid-Atlantic English popular in Hollywood films from the 1930s and 1940s and was “also found among members of the upper classes of American society.
The pretty woman at 0:36 was Fay Watson, aged 24, arrested in 1928 at a house in a high-class suburb for buying cocaine. Wrong place at the wrong time.
In the 1930s, “Salon Kitty” was a high-class brothel located at 11 Giesebrechtstrasse in Charlottenburg, a wealthy district of Berlin
High-class Luxury Apartments
The shoppers from below Bergen lived in either finely fashioned one-family homes, or in one of the two high class luxury apartments.
The modern nightclub was born during this time, when speakeasy owners adopted the label in order to give their establishments an air of respectability.
Fast forward to today, high-class may not be so high in virtue:
The place was a high-class dope den and crack was in its heyday. Ted Williams: My Time With the Homeless Man With the Golden VoiceMansfield Frazier 2011
Grey played Christine, a high-class escort in New York City whose clients have become more frugal due to the financial crisis. Hollywood’s Favorite Ex–Porn Star: A Chat With Sasha GreyMarlow Stern 2013
With a spate of layoffs kicking in, worrying about your 401(k)starts to look like a high-class problem, 2008
At final count, high-class is a song by Eric Paslay.
Everybody needs one night
To go out in style
Try on a little spotlight
For a little while
I’m talking fancy
Where the food ain’t fast
Two forks, two knives
Bud Light in a glass
Luxury brand marketers are running out of words to communicate with their affluent, aware and educated audiences. In that small world, another “word” bites the dust.