A reference or allusion made purely to draw attention to the intelligence of the speaker.
The worst thing about not being an English teacher anymore is that it’s now near-impossible to quote a poem without sounding like a complete asshole.
I taught lit classes for years. I recited, discussed, debated, analyzed, and harangued my students with some of the most lush, complex, and wonderful language ever written. And as a result, I now associate certain feelings or events with lines from Tennyson, Eliot, or Mary Oliver. It’s a bookish reflex.
It’s not meant to sound haughty. It’s not meant to seem intelligent. No more than a person quoting some sitcom catch-phrase means to sound commonplace or dopey. Those are just the words I like the most.
And yet… I see the inescapable truth:
I’m kindof a supercilious putz.