A line from the movie Pompeii (2014):

Make way! Make way! Off! Off the road! Make way for your betters! Move it, scum! Clear the way there! Move!

What does for your betters exactly mean? I know of the expression your elders and betters which means that you should respect people who are older than you. But in the movie there are no old people in the carriage—only young noble women.


I think you probably are able to guess the meaning, since you said that, in the scene, there are only young "noble" women.

This "betters" is about social status.

I'm glad that my favorite dictionary, Macmillan Dictionary, defines it explicitly.

someone's betters
people who have more important jobs or higher social status than someone
The poor did not envy their betters.


Your betters mean people who are more important, of higher rank or social position than you. As you have said, your elders mean people who are older than you. So make way for your betters means to move away so that people of higher rank or higher social position can get past you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.