Dictionary

pretentious

adjective pre·ten·tious \pri-ˈten(t)-shəs\

: having or showing the unpleasant quality of people who want to be regarded as more impressive, successful, or important than they really are

Full Definition of PRETENTIOUS

1
:  characterized by pretension: as
a :  making usually unjustified or excessive claims (as of value or standing) <the pretentious fraud who assumes a love of culture that is alien to him — Richard Watts>
b :  expressive of affected, unwarranted, or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature <pretentious language> <pretentious houses>
2
:  making demands on one's skill, ability, or means :  ambitious <the pretentious daring of the Green Mountain Boys in crossing the lake — American Guide Series: Vermont>
pre·ten·tious·ly adverb
pre·ten·tious·ness noun

Examples of PRETENTIOUS

  1. The houses in the neighborhood are large and pretentious.
  2. <that pretentious couple always serves caviar at their parties, even though they themselves dislike it>
  3. It is hard to be pretentious or elevated in Yiddish, and easy to poke fun. —Cynthia Ozick, New Yorker, 28 Mar. 1988

Origin of PRETENTIOUS

French prétentieux, from prétention pretension, from Medieval Latin pretention-, pretentio, from Latin praetendere
First Known Use: 1832

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