When people “put on airs,” it means they’re acting like they’re better than they are – that they’re higher class. Where I grew up it’s a real slam to be told you’re putting on airs.
I’m sure at some point I’ve said that about someone else, despite it not being my judgement to make. Aside from the obvious fact that I have no insight into how people feel about anything.
That came from a place of insecurity on my part, as most such things are. What we’re really concerned about is that that person thinks they’re better than we are. Or, more specifically, we think they are better than we are in some way – that they know something we don’t know.
It’s funny how life cycles around.
Not too long ago, someone referred to me as “putting on airs” when I mentioned lemon curd on Facebook. Admittedly, I didn’t grow up having tea and eating lemon curd on scones. But, as soon as I knew such a thing existed, and experienced it, I knew I wanted to experience it again.
So, I learned to make lemon curd. And occasionally I will mention it on Facebook because it’s part of my life. Is lemon curd high class? I honestly don’t know. Is the dish I bought at a flea market it’s in here high class? I guess it depends on your perspective.
But I do know we humans are often insecure about things we don’t know/understand, and sometimes that manifests in these ways. We’ve all been there. It’s just another bit of human nature. We are infinitely interesting.