+0
The definition for blue-collar from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/blue-collar is:
"of, relating to, or constituting the class of wage earners whose duties call for the wearing of work clothes or protective clothing"

So then is a doctor or surgeon a blue-collar?

Also, for white-collars, are computer programmers, pencil pushers and clerks white collars?

I'm trying to figure out if there's a correlation between being a white-collar and earning a high paying job. Like is someone, who earn minimum wage, like a clerk, a white-collar?

Thank you whoever responds!
1 2
Comments 
Hi,

The definition for blue-collar from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/blue-collar is:
"of, relating to, or constituting the class of wage earners whose duties call for the wearing of work clothes or protective clothing"

So then is a doctor or surgeon a blue-collar? No, definitely not. 'Blue collar' refers to people who are factory workers, auto mechanics, bus drivers, etc. While some such jobs can be highly paid and involve skilled work, the term is not closely associated with extremely high pay cheques and lots of higher education.

Also, for white-collars, are computer programmers, pencil pushers and clerks white collars? Yes. However, the term 'white collar' is, I'd say, less common than 'blue collar'. Except in the common phrase 'white collar crime', which refers typically to fraud, embezzlement, etc.

I'm trying to figure out if there's a correlation between being a white-collar and earning a high paying job. Like is someone, who earn minimum wage, like a clerk, a white-collar? Yes, I'd say so.


We don't say 'He's a white-collar', we say 'He's a white collar worker'.


Best wishes, Clive

Well... this is not as black & white as that. These are generalizations, not complete "truths."

First of all, doctors are NOT blue collar. They are professionals.

Blue collar doesn't exactly mean the need to wear work clothes. It's work that is usually more manual in nature, and usually does not require a college degree. A factory worker, an auto mechanic, a construction worker, etc.

White collar means office worker. The guys who have to wear ties? They wear "white collars," regardless of the actual color of the shirt they really wear. Often (but certainly not always) a college degree is needed. Accountants, computer programmers, public relations people, etc, are all white collars.

There is also a phrase "pink collar" - these are "clean" jobs - not on the factory floor - but not professional. The person who keeps track of stores, the receptionist, the secretary. I guess because they were often held by women it was called that.

In a VERY general sense, a white collar worker will earn more than a blue collar worker, but that is certainly not always the case. The guys who work for General Motors in a good union will earn a LOT more than I do, despite my "white collar" job.

There are far more types of jobs than can be neatly fit into the two categories.

Edited: Clive typed faster than I did Emotion: wink But at least we agree.
In the most general terms, a blue-collar worker is a manual laborer, while a white-collar worker is a salary man.

A good reference page for the difference between blue- and white-collar workers, as well as the origin of such terms, may be found at Wikipedia .
Hi,

Just a brief note about the phrase 'a salary man'. This term is not used in Western English-speaking countries.

Best wishes, Clive
Blue-collar generally refers to someone who does physical labor, such as constrcution workers, plumbers, road workers, roofers, maintenance people, etc. People who do not have to work hard physically are white-collar. Usually white collar workers are thought of as earning more money, but that is not always true. White collar criminals are people who have committed a crime, such as embezzlement, at the job.
CliveHi,

Just a brief note about the phrase 'a salary man'. This term is not used in Western English-speaking countries.

Best wishes, Clive
Hi Clive,

Perhaps it is where I live, but in Southern California the term is not unheard of. As far as I know, barring a violent earthquake, we are still in the western hemisphere! Though, I do suppose "one who works for a salary" may be a nicer phrase to use.
Is it? It seems to be a Japanese expression. I have heard many times sentences like "My father was a blue-collar worker all his life," but never, ever "a salary man." Perhaps where you live there is a heavy Japanese influence?
It is not unheard of for English to borrow from other languages. Southern California is a hodgepodge of many cultures; once-unfamiliar words or phrases often make it into conversations. Perhaps they are not widespread, or their usage may be regional, but I don't think it's entirely correct to say they are never used in this half of the world.
Show more