a tall poppy

a tall poppy

a privileged or distinguished person.
The Roman tyrant Tarquin was reputed to have struck off the heads of poppies as a gruesomely graphic demonstration of the way in which the important men of a captured city should be treated. In recent years, the term tall poppy syndrome has also developed, referring to a tendency to discredit or disparage people who have become rich, famous, or socially prominent.
1991 Lynn Barber Mostly Men Journalists on the whole tend to be egalitarian-minded and contemptous of tall poppies, but I prefer the prima donnas.
See also: poppy, tall