dil·​et·​tante | \ˈdi-lə-ˌtänt, -ˌtant;ˌdi-lə-ˈ\
plural dilettantes or dilettanti\-​ˈtän-​tē, -​ˈtan-​tē \

Definition of dilettante 

1 : a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge : dabbler

2 : an admirer or lover of the arts

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Other Words from dilettante

dilettante adjective
dilettantish \-​ˌtän-​tish, -​ˌtan-​, ˌdi-​lə-​ˈ \ adjective
dilettantism \-​ˌtän-​ˌti-​zəm, -​ˌtan-​, ˌdi-​lə-​ˈ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dilettante

amateur, dilettante, dabbler, tyro mean a person who follows a pursuit without attaining proficiency or professional status. amateur often applies to one practicing an art without mastery of its essentials a painting obviously done by an amateur ; in sports it may also suggest not so much lack of skill but avoidance of direct remuneration. remained an amateur despite lucrative offers dilettante may apply to the lover of an art rather than its skilled practitioner but usually implies elegant trifling in the arts and an absence of serious commitment. had no patience for dilettantes dabbler suggests desultory habits of work and lack of persistence. a dabbler who started novels but never finished them tyro implies inexperience often combined with audacity with resulting crudeness or blundering. shows talent but is still a mere tyro

Examples of dilettante in a Sentence

I recently spent a week in Alaska trying to learn how to be a mountaineer. I did not succeed very well, and the details are not very interesting. I finished the course (I was enrolled in a course) thinking that perhaps I am better off remaining a slightly-above-average mountain dilettante. An occasional rock climber. — Jason Lee Steorts, National Review, 18 Aug. 2008 Being a powerhouse herself in ways that make today's feminist superwomen look like dilettantes, she inevitably clashed with star directors like Maurice Tourneur and Ernst Lubitsch. — Molly Haskell, New York Times Book Review, 6 June 1999 Most of the articles published in Naval History reflect time-consuming research and investigation. The efforts are not the work of dilettantes, but of professional and semiprofessional historians. — Michael M. Bergfeld, Naval History, July/August 1997 You can always tell a true expert from a dilettante. she writes about art not from the point of view of an artist but from that of a committed dilettante
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Recent Examples on the Web

In the interest of time I would be privately tutored to become a dilettante butler by Christopher Ely, who had been, among other things, a butler at Buckingham Palace and was heading up FCI's Estate Management Studies program. Jonathan Reynolds, Town & Country, "At Your Service," 11 July 2014 In terms of practice and playing, Curry is a golf dilettante. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Passion for golf has been with Stephen Curry since an early age," 12 July 2018 This was an amateur move, critics sniffed; the flailing of a dilettante out of his depth. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "The Benefits and Risks of Trump’s Dazzle," 28 May 2018 Ferry and his bandmates were cast as dilettantes rather than dues-paying musicians, who conflated songs with showmanship, art with artifice. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Roxy Music: Still mind-blowing, still overlooked," 22 Feb. 2018 Durant is not looking to become a dilettante team owner — in it for the profit, or the celebrity status, or as a power trip. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "For Warriors’ Kevin Durant, owning NBA team is his dream," 28 Jan. 2018 In the course of a year, the former South Carolina governor has transformed herself from a diplomatic dilettante into the highest-flying foreign-policy luminary in the Trump administration. chicagotribune.com, "Haley makes it clear she will accept nothing less than to be Tillerson's equal," 9 Mar. 2018 The result is a story both dilettante and devotee can enjoy. Michael M. Guevara, San Antonio Express-News, "Plot twists make “Holmes Entangled” anything but elementary," 1 Mar. 2018 This is not mood music, pretty sounds assembled at a dilettante’s whim. Stephen Hough, New York Times, "100 Years After Debussy’s Death, He Remains the First ‘Modern’ Composer," 2 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of dilettante

1748, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for dilettante

Italian, from present participle of dilettare to delight, from Latin dilectare — more at delight

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Statistics for dilettante

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for dilettante

The first known use of dilettante was in 1748

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English Language Learners Definition of dilettante

: a person whose interest in an art or in an area of knowledge is not very deep or serious

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