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high culture

Definition of High Culture

(noun) Cultural aspects (material and nonmaterial) considered superior and typically associated with and consumed by the elites of society: the well-educated or wealthy.

Examples of High Culture

High Culture Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: high cul·ture

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /hIE kUHl-chuhr/
  • British English – /hIE kUHl-chuh/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /haɪ ˈkʌlʧər/
  • British English – /haɪ ˈkʌlʧə/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: high cultures
  • High culture typically requires education or training to develop a sophisticated appreciation.
  • High culture is produced by a highly skilled labor force.
  • High culture is derived from “highbrow“. The term is related to phrenology, a pseudoscience that contended personality was determined by the measurement of the bumps on human skulls.
  • A type of culture.
  • High culture is contrasted to low culture.

Additional Information

Related Video

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of High Culture

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “high culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved September 28, 2020 (https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

high culture. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “high culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed September 28, 2020. https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“high culture.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 28 Sep. 2020. <https://sociologydictionary.org/high-culture/>.