Yuppie (short for "young urban professional" or "young upwardly-mobile professional") is a term that refers to a member of the upper middle class or upper class in their 20s or 30s. It first came into use in the early 1980s.
Yuppism... is not definable entirely by income or class. Rather, it is a late-20th century cultural phenomenon of self-absorbed young professionals, earning good pay, enjoying the cultural attractions of sophisticated urban life and thought, and generally out of touch with, indeed antithetical to, most of the challenges and concerns of a far less well-off and more parochial Middle America. For the yuppie male a well-paying job in law, finance, academia or consulting in a cultural hub, hip fashion, cool appearance, studied poise, elite education, proper recreation and fitness and general proximity to liberal-thinking elites, especially of the more rarefied sort in the arts, are the mark of a real man.
Although the term yuppies had not appeared until the early 1980s, there was discussion about young urban professionals as early as 1968.
Critics believe that the demand for "instant executives" has led some young climbers to confuse change with growth. One New York consultant comments, "Many executives in their 20s and 30s have been so busy job-hopping that they've never developed their skills. They're apt to suffer a sudden loss of career impetus and go into a power stall."
Joseph Epstein was credited for coining the term in 1982, although this is contested and it is claimed that the first printed appearance of the word was in a May 1980 Chicago magazine article by Dan Rottenberg. The term gained currency in the United States in 1983 when syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene published a story about a business networking group founded in 1982 by the former radical leader Jerry Rubin, formerly of the Youth International Party (whose members were called yippies); Greene said he had heard people at the networking group (which met at Studio 54 to soft classical music) joke that Rubin had "gone from being a yippie to being a yuppie". The headline of Greene's story was From Yippie to Yuppie.East Bay Express humorist Alice Kahn claimed to have coined the word in a 1983 column. This claim is disputed. The proliferation of the word was affected by the publication of The Yuppie Handbook in January 1983 (a tongue-in-cheek take on The Official Preppy Handbook), followed by Senator Gary Hart's 1984 candidacy as a "yuppie candidate" for President of the United States. The term was then used to describe a political demographic group of socially liberal but fiscally conservative voters favoring his candidacy.Newsweek magazine declared 1984 "The Year of the Yuppie", characterizing the salary range, occupations, and politics of yuppies as "demographically hazy". The alternative acronym yumpie, for young upwardly mobile professional, was also current in the 1980s but failed to catch on.
In a 1985 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Theressa Kersten at SRI International described a "yuppie backlash" by people who fit the demographic profile yet express resentment of the label: "You're talking about a class of people who put off having families so they can make payments on the SAABs ... To be a Yuppie is to be a loathsome undesirable creature". Leo Shapiro, a market researcher in Chicago, responded, "Stereotyping always winds up being derogatory. It doesn't matter whether you are trying to advertise to farmers, Hispanics or Yuppies, no one likes to be neatly lumped into some group".
The word lost most of its political connotations and, particularly after the 1987 stock market crash, gained the negative socio-economic connotations that it sports today. On April 8, 1991, Time magazine proclaimed the death of the yuppie in a mock obituary.
The term has experienced a resurgence in usage during the 2000s and 2010s. In October 2000, David Brooks remarked in a Weekly Standard article that Benjamin Franklin- due to his extreme wealth, cosmopolitanism, and adventurous social life- is "Our Founding Yuppie". A recent article in Details proclaimed "The Return of the Yuppie", stating that "the yuppie of 1986 and the yuppie of 2006 are so similar as to be indistinguishable" and "[h]e’s a shape-shifter... he finds ways to reenter the American psyche."Victor Davis Hanson also recently wrote in National Review very critically of yuppies.
Usage outside of the United States
A September 2010 article in The Standard described the items on a typical Hong Kong resident's "yuppie wish list" based on a survey of 28 to 35 year olds. About 58% wanted to own their own home, 40% wanted to professionally invest, and 28% wanted to become a boss. A September 2010 article in the New York Times defined as a hallmark of Russian yuppie life adoption of yoga and other elements of Indian culture such as their clothes, food, and furniture.
In Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson uses the term to describe one who had adapted to the urban lifestyle, and could not hold their own if they were to have to go into survival mode. Robertson often calls his sons and daughters-in-law yuppies.
Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz describes a later (early 1990s) evolution of the Yuppie, in which the upper tier made considerably more than the lower, supporting tier, the "slaves" of the title, who were trapped by rents and insufficient salaries into a struggle merely to stay afloat in Manhattan.
DINKs (DINKY in the UK) is an acronym is for Dual Income, No Kids [Yet]; at least one authority considers this to be synonymous with "yuppie".
A scuppie is a Socially Conscious Upwardly-Mobile Person (the term is not commonly used).
A Brazilianplayboy: while in first this term had the same usage as in English, from the 1990s to the 2010s it changed its meaning to a local version of yuppie which first appeared in Greater Rio de Janeiro. Stereotypes of the Brazilian playboys include being classist, womanizer and sexist, at least way more than their yuppie counterparts from more developed countries, which in turn is result of social anxieties of the poor and the lower middle class against the upper middle and upper classes, or being great seekers of social status and influence. They also, contrary to yuppies, do not fashionize intellectuality, and can or can not be socially liberal (social divisions between liberals and conservatives, specially in the upper classes, makes much less sense in Brazil than in the Anglosphere). In the 2000s, some lower middle and middle middle class Brazilians from Greater São Paulo formed a new urban subculture also called playboy which is little to not related to the former. Non-urban young professionals in Brazil are called by the slang agroboy. Also in São Paulo, the term coxinha gained more currency in the late-2000s, making playboy fall out in the early 2010s, when the usage spread around Brazil, especially after the 2013 Brazilian protests.
A winder is a young individual, uninhibited with regards to its own social success, and willing to comply only to a very soft (and versatile) set of moral standards.
Yuppification often replaces the word gentrification; it is the act of making something, someone, or someplace appealing and thus marketable to yuppie tastes.
Puppie is a poor urban professional (a.k.a. welfie and cheapie).
YURP is a term describing the diverse group of young professionals who are dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans, and many low-income locals accuse them of "carpetbaggery".
Yuppie Angst is when a yuppie experiences stress in pursuing a busy work schedule, anxiety attacks over minor fears or challenges, reckless driving on highways and overreacting in panic.
Yuppie Puppy, derogatory term, synonymous with Malibu Barbie or Malibu Ken i.e. the vacuous overly spoiled and narcissistic offspring of the aforementioned Yuppies.
Yuppiedom, a mockery of the term "kingdom" or a place of yuppies.
Yuppie Values, also a mocking of core beliefs, trends and behavioral traits of yuppies as more of upper-income liberalism or an evolution of "Hippie values" about trying new or exotic things while pursuing a money-based life.