Etymologies: “High Brow Humour”

high brow humour: humour that is intelligent, classy, refined

Origin:

The term high brow humour originated in early Victorian era comedy clubs (1).  The social elite felt that it was undignified to show appreciation by clapping their hands; this was seen as boorish and only fit for the lower classes.  Thus many of the aristocrats showed their appreciation for a good joke by repeatedly raising and lowering their eye-brows vigorously.  Over time, jokes that these aristocrats found funny , and thus raised their brows, began to be called “high brow”.  The term has survived into modern times.

Footnotes:

1 – Actually at the time they were called “Yukkers”, hence the phrase “yuk yuk”.

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