From the movie The Wolf of Wall Street:

And he did quit his job. Which I thought was a little weird. I mean, I just met this fucking guy. Don't fucking tell Susan. It's none of her business. There were other things about him, too. Like his phosphorescent white teeth. The fact that he wore horn rims with clear lenses just to look more WASP-y. And then, there were these rumors.

I don't understand what that means.


WASP is an American English acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Consistent with the context, it is usually a derogatory term. It usually has connotations of "born into the ruling class."

The fact that about half of Americans are white Protestants with at least some English ancestry does not seem to interfere with this stereotype. Perhaps it is because there are also pejorative terms for poor whites, as well.

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While the term "WASP" literally comes from the acronym "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant", it has come to connote not that literal demographic but a rather privileged and insular class/caste of American society, with very characteristic clothing, tastes, haunts, etc, which tends towards some forms of conservatism and defense of tradition and the status quo to protect their privileges, including their wealth. Because it's rooted in race, it also has to do with physical appearance. Simply putting "waspy" into google image search may be edifying.

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Sometimes, it actually helps to look up the meaning of an unfamiliar word in a dictionary! Nevertheless, as has been pointed out already:


An abbreviation for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Basically it refers to a place that has no colored people.

Man, that school is so waspy. They only have like 2 black kids and an Asian.

Source: Urban Dictionary.

Also note the way it's used in the movie- WASP-y, which points to this definition (among the others).

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  • There are a dozen meanings listed there. How is an ESL learner supposed to know which one of them is exactly the one that they need? – Michael Rybkin Feb 19 '18 at 19:50

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