City slicker

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City slicker is an idiomatic expression for someone accustomed to a city or urban lifestyle and unsuited to life in the country. The term was typically used as a term of derision by rural Americans and Canadians who regarded them with amusement. It may refer to a "fop", or it may be a derogatory term for a person wearing inappropriate city-type business attire, particularly with a brusque or condescending attitude in areas where local residents are offended by an arrogant attitude combined with disdain and lack of respect for rural people and lifestyles. The term can be used to describe people who are perceived as dishonest, arrogant, or simply naive.

City slicker was derisively given to people from the urban Eastern United States and Canada when they took on an attitude that their lifestyle and access to the culture of city life gave them superior intelligence. Rural people, particularly those in the west, notably cowboys, often used the perception of a snobbish attitude as justification for playing practical jokes on such people.

The archetypal city slicker is depicted as a spoiled, selfish, lazy, and/or wealthy individual, who considers people living on farms to be poor and ignorant. They are depicted as being unaccustomed to hard labour and as a result, tire very easily and complain when working. City slickers appeared often as deceitful characters in U.S. comic strips and movies before the middle of the 20th century, but usually to be "outsmarted" by the native wisdom and common sense of the locals or to somehow otherwise get their just deserts in the end.[1]

While the term is still used in rural areas today, other related terms include: dude, tenderfoot, and greenhorn; antonyms include yokel, bumpkin, and hick.


  1. ^ Cf. Mickey Mouse comic Mr.Slicker and the Egg Robbers (1930).