In the past, the word prep was used to define those individuals priviledged enough to attend East Coast prepatory schools. However, more recently, the word prep has evolved to describe any individual who seems like they would be the type to attend a prep school. In most cases, today's preps had relatives who attended prep schools-- their families are legacies at these institutions. Contrary to popular belief, preps do not wear Abercrombie, Hollister, American Eagle, or similar clothing companies. In many cases, shopping at these stores would be seen as a waste of money (and a lack of good judgement). Instead, many preps choose to sport Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, J. Crew, Burberry, Lilly Pulitzer, and anything from Nordstrom, Saks, and Neiman Marcus. Loafers, boating shoes, designer sunglasses, and designer purses are also important. Casually, preps can be spotted wearing designer tees (Michael Stars/ C & C California), Uggs, Juicy Couture, Hard Tail, North Face, Rainbow, and jeans by True Religion, 7 for All Mankind, Rock & Republic, etc. Pearls are a must, along with jewelry by Tiffany & Company and David Yurman. Many preps enjoy sailing, golfing, playing tennis-- stereotypical prep activites. They are often members of a country club and use their time there to associate with other preps. Families of preps generally know each other. Many prep families will remain friends through the generations as they gather for charity benefits, dinner parties, and other social events. Preps usually will attend prepatory schools and attend the universities of their choice. Most preps will go on to attend the Ivies, Duke, or one of many east coast private liberal arts colleges. Other acceptable colleges include Michigan, UCLA, Stanford, and UNC. In short, the word prep signifies the "classic" classy individual-- the type of person who embodies the word "class."
I think that my roommate might be a prep. Earlier today, she was talking about summering on the Cape.

My parents love my boyfriend Nate. His father and my father were on the lacrosse team together at Exeter, so our families have known each other forever. When Nate and I finally get married, we're going to have the perfect prep family.
by prepsteralli May 04, 2006
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"Prep" is short for "preparatory." But unless you are doing "kitchen prep" before making a meal or getting ready for a test, the word usually refers to people who look like they could belong to the elite world of American preparatory schools.

The old-time New England prep schools--Andover, Phillips Exeter, Hotchkiss, etc.-- modeled themselves on English "public" schools like Eton (where Prince William graduated and Prince Harry still studies). The idea was to prepare the children of wealthy, WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) families for top colleges and life in the upper crust of society.

At this point, you don't have to be a WASP or travel to New England to go to prep school, and you certainly don't need to go to "prep" school to be labeled a "prep." Nowadays, it's more about how you look: understated but classic, wearing khakis maybe, and always lots of cotton. "Preppy" fashion is famously low-key because it is inspired by a class of people who don't care to flaunt their wealth. (Except for the not-so-subtle message of wearing clothes that suggest constant skiing, tennis and sailing--and the occasional loud plaid or hot pink.)

When the term "preppy" developed in the 1960s, it was with a mix of awe and annoyance. What was not to like about the clean-cut looks and the tastes of the "old money" prep-school crowd? But they were so insular, so spoiled...

Preppy pride soared in the conservative '80s, when Lisa Birnbach published "The Official Preppy Handbook," which extolled the joys of living among the best and brightest while dressed in navy blue and kelly green. Birnbach was kind of kidding, but a backlash followed with books like "101 Uses for a Dead Preppie" and the "I Hate Preppies Handbook."

Preps and their trappings have made a lot of enemies along the way. "The Catcher in the Rye"'s Holden Caulfield railed against the "fakes" at his New England prep school and ran away to the less stifling confines of New York City. Hip-hop's embrace of Tommy Hilfiger and other preppy brands has always been part poking fun at the status quo, part appreciation of the quality.

Meanwhile, there always seems to be a preppy fashion moment around the corner...

~ This definition curtisey of the good people at www.gurl.com !
"Preppy clothing involves alot of cotton and kahki."
by Former President Richard Nixon January 02, 2006
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The most annoying and useless people on the Earth.

While many groups of people such as nerds, hippies and punks try to change the world for the better through activism and technology, preps spend nine tenths of their time looking down upon others, using their typically upper class parents to buy them things which make others envious.

However, don't worry about them too much; since they tend to drink heavily and go to shitty colleges, many preps find themselves unable to function in society and end up working for their parents, who are generally lawyers or self employed salespeople. Their more worthy parents wind up hating them and they take up jobs at IHOP or Walmart and get old and hideous.

Their idols are generally as shallow as they are, and include any boy band they can find, and typically STD infested sluts like Hannah Montana and Miley Ray Cyrus.

Young preps tend to watch High School Musical; older preps can't afford a TV.

They tend to be Republicans, and pretend to be devout Christians, while drinking more than the average Irish Catholic minister.
Nerd: Audrey and her friends are such preps I wish they would die.
Hippie: Yeah but she'll be working night shift at McDonalds in five years once I graduate from UVM and you get out of Yale.
Punk: Hey forget her ass, let's go burn down the army navy store.
by Styxhexenhammer August 29, 2009
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A person who has a lifestyle of understated elegance, generally using good manners and who strives to achieve academic success. A true prep often buys well-made clothing that doesn't go out of fashion quickly, such as Burberry, Lacoste, better quality Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and classic high-end clothing from companies such as Prada or Gucci. Preps DO NOT shop at Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, or Hollister. True preps go to college preparatory schools for high school, then to Ivy League schools for college. A prep often strives to stay in good physical shape. Preps do not try to be ostentatious or overly conspicuous in spending habits, but they have such cars as BMWs or Mercedes Benz. It is a stereotype that all preps are sluts and whores, this is not true, and preps are usually not from new money, but from established families around the US especially the Northeastern states such as Massachusetts. There is no one type of music preps listen to. True preps are polite, and try to get along with others. Unlike goths, emos, and other sad social groups, preps try to stay happy and wear bright colors to show it.
Jealous person "Look at that prep, he's such a snob"
Friend "No, he just has class..."
by Matthew McRee March 31, 2007
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A prep is traditionally someone who comes from a WASP family living in New England, but the definition has expanded. A prep can now be used to describe anyone from a wealthy, New England family, who most likely participates in lacrosse, sailing, rugby, crew, field hockey, ice hockey, polo, and other like minded sports. It is a requisite for both boys and girls to be able to sail and play lacrosse to some extent. They value intelligence, sociability, physical attractiveness, and wealth.

A true prep DOES NOT wear Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, American Eagle, Juicy Couture, and other brands, as those are considered Jap brands, and although they have become in modern slang "preppy", are not, and should be called "jappy". They do wear Polo Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Hermes, and other, more conservative brands. Both plaid and Madras are very popular in the 2007-2008 year.

Family tolerance for drinking alcohol is surprisingly high, and as they often have large amounts of wines, rum, vodka, vermouth, scotch, and other expensive liquors in their houses, underage drinking often starts as young as 15. Drug use however, is expressively forbidden even within the most lax families, and such use is seriously punished.

While most people think that preps hate goths, skaters, and other stereotypes, they do not, but rather loathe Japs, who consider themselves preps, even though they just degrade the term.
Prep 1: Look at that Jap.

Prep 2: Wow, she thinks she's preppy just because she wears Abercrombie & Fitch and Couture.

Prep 1: She's such poser.

Prep 2: She thinks she's so preppy but shes so jappy.
by Pro-prep, anti-JAP June 10, 2007
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A group of β€˜popular’ people that pollute the world with their expensive shitty perfume from Abercrombie and Fitch. You can spot out a prep by their shirt that displays a fake sports team from some random place.
Why pay so much money for a pair of jeans when you can get the same thing for so much less money somewhere else?
by mmmmmmm April 13, 2005
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Typically, this word has become a derogatory name for a guy or a girl who takes pride in the way they approach, and appear, in life. Common misconceptions about "preps" are that we are a bunch of cocky, New England elitist types who have more money than God, himself, and an inherent desire to flaunt it in the form of clothing, cars, housing, education and social standing.

First off: You don't have to be from the north to be a prep. Let me make this very clear. What prep initially implies is that you went to preparatory school, hence the word "prep" (I'll discuss later how it's a cultural identity). However, a deeper look into the history of the word will expose that its true origins come from the word "preposterous" (i.e. those madras shorts/yellow pants/pink and green combination are preposterous). There are plenty of good southern preparatory schools, which include Woodberry Forest, Virginia Episcopal School...you get the idea. There are good preparatory schools in every corner of this country, but it's the New England boarding schools that have assisted in establishing this stereotyped location.

Let's get on with true prep culture:

A prep's wardrobe consists of some expensive clothing, but they've had it for the better part of a decade--excluding the two Vineyard Vines polos they got for their birthday and the 50% off sale at Brooks Brothers--indicating the true preppy trait of valuing "classic" over "trendy". We don't buy into the Lacoste trend of now, but we will gladly wear a "handed down from dad" Lacoste polo shirt from the era when it still maintained an association with Izod, which was well before it became the token icon of a sold out, soulless and materialistic world.

And as far as the true prep's garage is concerned, you're more likely to find a boxy Volvo station wagon or sedan (ski rack clutching to the roof for dear life) than you are the Ferrari or Hummer that everybody seems to associate with a prep. You find cars like those in the garages of those obnoxious yuppies who liken themselves to human beings because of the sole reason that they have a body with blood (no matter how cocaine-laced) flowing through it.

Another typical misconception about preps is that we live in gigantic mansions on the 8th fairway of some country club to prove a point. Hell no. People who buy a big house with the sole intention of demonstrating that they have a lot of money are NOT preps. They are assholes or yuppies. The only time a prep will ever move into a big house (and even then, it will never be one that is likened to a McMansion)is if A) they have a large family or B) it was passed down for generations (refer to the "classic" versus "trendy" juxtaposition, because trust me, it applies right here). When it comes to housing, for a true prep, less is definitely more. A true prep will rent a studio apartment somewhere on the Upper East Side in lieu of purchasing a behemoth piece of architectural vomit on the links, even though both probably wind up costing the same.

This brings me to education. Preps spend money on an education for the sole reason of having the proper tools to become successfully established with relative ease upon graduation. It's not for bragging rights, because anybody who brags about going to Harvard because it's "Haaaarvard" and not "the groundwork for their future success" usually winds up the victim of some form of brutal sodomy. A prep's tendency with regard to education is to go to a top college or university (generally on the east coast, but there's always Stanford and UCLA should a prep choose to make a respectable deviation from the norm). Private institutions frequented by preps include, but are certainly not limited to: Middlebury, Bowdoin, Duke, Tufts, Davidson, Lehigh, LaFayette, Colby, Bates, and every single Ivy League institution ever established, save Brown...a prep wouldn't be caught dead there). If for high school, a prep found Choate, Kent or Andover to be too small, they might choose to attend any of the following public universities: UVA, UNC, Michigan, UCLA, etc.

Finally, to put an end to an abhorrent misconception that everybody seems to maintain: NO, true preps do not buy their social status. Maybe we'll hang out at a ritzy bar if a friend is getting married, but normally, we avoid those scenes until we're at least 45 years old and drink scotch. The young people who frequent those places are just plain trying too hard. A true prep knows where to find a classy joint that won't break the bank or the heart. An amazing night on the town for a prep consists of dinner at J.G. Melon (11$) followed by an evening of wasting away on well-bourbon at T.J.'s (25$), which is an incredibly fun and inexpensive joint, considering it's in Manhattan. If that were my night, which it has been before, I would have just spent less in six hours than the pretentious bastard across the street did in the thirty seconds that it took him to order the Escargot.

A true prep is a classy individual. We know where to go, who to know and we seriously believe in class, and the true ones of us refuse to buy into pop culture. We do the right things, whether it's holding the door for a lady, mixing our Gin and Tonic with the right proportions, or double-spacing after every period when we write our essays. Truly, "prep" is not a trend, it is a classic way of life.
The young man who graduated cum laude from middlebury college with dual bachelor's degrees went on to earn his law degree from the University of Virginia and is now working at O'Melveny and Myers, LLP. Note that even though he makes well over $400,000 in a year, his car of choice is a volvo wagon and he lives in a studio apartment in the upper east side. He is a true example of a prep.
by bornandraised December 15, 2005
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