Babbitt
   , BABBITT METAL
   A tin-based alloy, called babbitt metal, was invented by Isaac Babbitt in 1839. The metal, composed of a soft, silver-white alloy of copper, tin, and antimony, is widely used for bearings to reduce friction. For this invention, the United States Congress voted to grant Babbitt $20,000, a sum that enabled him to manufacture this alloy.
   Isaac Babbitt (1799-1862) was born in Taunton, Massachusetts. Trained as a goldsmith, he made the first Britannia ware in America in 1824. He then took employment as a superintendent at the South Boston Iron Works and is credited with having helped make the first brass cannon in the United States.
   The leading character in Sinclair Lewis's novel Babbitt, published in 1922, was George F. Babbitt, a prosperous real estate agent in Zenith, a Western city. He was "nimble in the calling of selling houses for more than people could afford to pay" and was the prototype of the narrowminded, self-satisfied, materialistic, middle-class American. He represented the orthodox businessman with drives that laud his own middle-class existence and with no interest in cultural values. He placed great store on local esteem and outward prosperity. Babbitt was everything that the author hated about America. The word Babbitt now appears in American dictionaries to represent a person who unthinkingly conforms to group standards or a smug, schooled but uneducated businessman. Babbittry is middle-class conformity.
   As the book closes, Babbitt's son tells Babbitt of his intention to "get into mechanics" rather than go to the university. He also tells him that he has been secretly married. Babbitt, who with age has come to understand his parochial outlook and virtues, felt that the time had come to give his son advice based upon his own flawed experiences. Babbitt "crossed the floor, slowly, ponderously, seeming a little old. ve always wanted you to have a college degree.' He meditatively stamped across the floor again. 'But I've never. . . I've never done a single thing I've wanted to do in my whole life! Well, maybe you'll carry things further. I don't know . . . Don't be scared of the family. No, not of Zenith. Not of yourself, the way I've been. Go ahead, old man! The world is yours!' "

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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  • Babbitt — est un terme pouvant désigner: Babbitt, roman de Sinclair Lewis, publié en 1922 Babbitt, film réalisé en 1924 à partir du roman Babbitt, film réalisé en 1934 à partir du roman Sommaire 1 Patronyme 2 Toponyme …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Babbitt — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Art Babbitt (Arthur Harold Babitsky; 1907–1992), US amerikanischer Animator Bruce Babbitt (* 1938), US amerikanischer Politiker Clinton Babbitt (1831–1907), US amerikanischer Politiker Dinah Babbitt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Babbitt — may refer to: Fiction*Babbitt (novel) is a 1922 novel by Sinclair Lewis.:*It is also the title of the two films based on the novel, Babbitt (1924 film) and Babbitt (1934 film) * Babbit is the family name of the title character of Runny Babbit , a …   Wikipedia

  • babbitt — ☆ babbitt1 [bab′it ] n. Babbitt metal vt. to line or cover with Babbitt metal ☆ babbitt2 or Babbitt [bab′it ] n. [after George Babbitt, title character of a satirical novel (1922) by Sinclair Lewis] a smugly narrow and conventional person… …   English World dictionary

  • Babbitt — (n.) conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman, 1923, from George Babbitt, title character of Sinclair Lewis novel (1922). His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Babbitt — Babbitt, MN U.S. city in Minnesota Population (2000): 1670 Housing Units (2000): 801 Land area (2000): 105.651265 sq. miles (273.635508 sq. km) Water area (2000): 1.063474 sq. miles (2.754385 sq. km) Total area (2000): 106.714739 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Babbitt, MN — U.S. city in Minnesota Population (2000): 1670 Housing Units (2000): 801 Land area (2000): 105.651265 sq. miles (273.635508 sq. km) Water area (2000): 1.063474 sq. miles (2.754385 sq. km) Total area (2000): 106.714739 sq. miles (276.389893 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Babbitt — Bab bitt, v. t. To line with Babbitt metal. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Babbitt — [bab′it] Milton Byron 1916 ; U.S. composer …   English World dictionary

  • babbitt — 1. noun a) Babbitt metal. One speaks of a babbitt habit, a babbitt era. Nothing is more true. America recognized itself in Babbitt, it demurred, but it also admired. b) A person who subscribes complacently to materialistic middle class ideals [ …   Wiktionary

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