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egghead

a person of high intelligence

TRANSLATION

egghead = der Eierkopf, der Intellektuelle (woerterbuch.info) --- GOOGLE INDEX egghead: approximately 950,000 hits

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

Like Brian Eno and David Byrne, Peter Gabriel is a member of pop's EGGHEAD elite.

(The Guardian)

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Colleagues though, regard Mr. Cameron as something of an EGGHEAD.

(Financial Times)

Did you
know?

egghead
noun, slang

- a negative term for a very academic, intellectual, or technically clever person

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WORD ORIGIN

According to the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, the expression "egghead" was first used by the American writer Owen Johnson in one of his Lawrenceville novels. This series of early 20th century books follows the adventures of a group of students at the Lawrenceville private school for boys. The young students have peculiar nicknames like Dink Stover, The Prodigious Hickey, The Tennessee Shad and Egghead (sometimes referred to as the Triumphant Egghead). Egghead was used in the context of a brainy person who often lacked common sense.

The expression was revived in the early 1950s when Adlai Stevenson became the U.S. Democratic party candidate for president in 1952. Stevenson was known for having a superior intellect and liberal political philosophies, but was regarded as being out of touch with the people. This led many of his critics, including Richard Nixon, to refer to him as egghead.

It also helped that Stevenson had a high, egg-shaped forehead, which implied that he was a highbrow, a term that refers to someone who is highly cultured and/or intellectual. Highbrow stems from brow, as in the eyebrows, which suggests that someone with high eyebrows has a large forehead and therefore has a large brain.

The notion that people with large foreheads possess higher intelligence was propagated by Dr. Franz Joseph Gall, a German scientist who pioneered phrenology, the study of the shape and protrusions of the skull, based on the belief that they reveal character and mental capacity. Although Gall's theory was questioned and eventually disproved, the expressions highbrow and egghead live on.

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SYNONYMS

boffin, bookworm, brain, geek, genius, highbrow, know-it-all, longhair, rocket scientist, scholar, telly don, thinker, too clever by half

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SMUGGLE OWAD INTO TODAY'S CONVERSATION:

"We've got some eggheads in the IT department who may be able to help you."

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