affectation

noun af·fec·ta·tion \ ˌa-ˌfek-ˈtā-shən \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of affectation

1 a : speech or conduct not natural to oneself : an unnatural form of behavior meant especially to impress others
  • His French accent is just an affectation.
b : the act of taking on or displaying an attitude or mode of behavior not natural to oneself or not genuinely felt
  • speaking honestly without affectation
  • mocked his piety as affectation
2 obsolete : a striving after

Examples of affectation in a Sentence

  1. His French accent is just an affectation.

  2. a woman of great affectation at social gatherings

Recent Examples of affectation from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affectation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of affectation

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French affectation, borrowed from Latin affectātiōn-, affectātiō "striving after, strained manner (in rhetoric)," from affectāre "to strive after, try to accomplish, pretend to have" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at 2affect

Synonym Discussion of affectation

pose, air, airs, affectation, mannerism mean an adopted way of speaking or behaving. pose implies an attitude deliberately assumed in order to impress others.
    • her shyness was just a pose
air may suggest natural acquirement through environment or way of life.
    • a traveler's sophisticated air
airs always implies artificiality and pretentiousness.
    • snobbish airs
affectation applies to a trick of speech or behavior that strikes the observer as insincere.
    • the posh accent is an affectation
mannerism applies to an acquired eccentricity that has become a habit.
    • gesturing with a cigarette was her most noticeable mannerism


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