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The meaning and origin of the expression: Sloane Ranger

Sloane Ranger

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'Sloane ranger'?

Sloane Rangers, or latterly just Sloanes or Sloanies are upper class and fashion-conscious but conventional young people, living in the more expensive parts of West London.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Sloane ranger'?

The term Sloane Ranger is most often applied to young women. Lady Diana Spencer, prior to her marriage, was the archetypal Sloane. Wealth, and an upper class, although not necessarily aristocratic, social position is a pre-requisite. Sloanes are widely derided and, regardless of whatever educational standing they may have achieved, are generally regarded as dim-witted socialites. A typical female Sloane might be called Victoria or Sophie and, prior to marrying a male Sloane, have a part-time job in childcare or public relations. A typical male Sloane might be called Ben or Toby and opt for a job in the Army or the City.

Sloane rangerThis term was derived in the 1970s from Sloane Square, an expensive and fashionable square on the borders of the Belgravia and Chelsea districts in London, and, of course, takes its linguistic lead from the Lone Ranger. It may also be influenced by Range Rover, which was a favourite vehicle of the class of people referred to. Who coined it isn't clear, although it is often associated with Peter York, previously the Style Editor of Harpers & Queen magazine and the co-author of the Harpers & Queen's The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook.

In the October 1975 issue of Harpers & Queen, York referred to Sloane Rangers several times, and these are the first known records of the term in print:

- The Sloane Rangers ... are the nicest British Girl.
- The Sloane Rangers always add tone. They never put on prole accents, like self-conscious Oxford boys in the sixties.
- Once a Sloane marries and moves to Kennington and starts learning sociology through the Open University, she is off the rails.
- Sloaneness, some people would say, is a track to be liberated from.
- Sloane Ranger pet hates ... incense, Norman Mailer.

See also - Hooray Henry.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

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