Mr. Carroll often criticizes the superficial lives of the dilettantes … who mingle in New York.—Mark Stevens
Whitman ran an amateurish campaign … and was painted as an aristocratic dilettante.—Eleanor Clift
dated: an admirer or lover of the arts
It was unparalleled, undreamed-of, that I, Humphrey Van Weyden, a scholar and a dilettante, if you please, in things artistic and literary, should be lying here on a Bering Sea seal-hunting schooner.—Jack London
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. 2008Being 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 1999Most 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
Recent Examples on the WebBy then, the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot had gained a reputation as an academic dilettante.—Quanta Magazine, 26 Jan. 2024 Efforts to put in additional safeguards proved unsuccessful, however, and Circle would sell the exchange to a consortium of Asian investors, including crypto dilettante Justin Sun, amid a cloud of regulatory uncertainty just a year later for a loss of $156 million.—Leo Schwartz, Fortune Crypto, 6 Sep. 2023 The dynamic dilettante did $1.7 billion in annual sales in 2021, a record high.—Marisa Dellatto, Forbes, 16 July 2023 In Mod’s hands, Shruti never panders for pity or respect either from audiences or from Whishaw’s Adam, never makes Shruti come across as a victim or as a naive dilettante.—Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 June 2023 But in croquet, age is no barrier to mastery, and Grimsley’s guests, who had flown in from around the country, were no dilettantes.—Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, 10 May 2023 Kenner has described the hip-hop star as a naive amateur diplomat — a dilettante, not a criminal.—Paul Duggan, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2023 Growing up a dilettante with a taste for action, he was drawn more to outdoor adventures than his studies.—David James, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Mar. 2023 Gallego, a social media firebrand, has hired veterans of Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman's successful 2022 campaign against Mehmet Oz, in which the Democrat aggressively painted Oz as an out-of-touch, out-of-state dilettante and highlighted his own authenticity and working class roots.—David Faris, The Week, 30 Jan. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dilettante.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Italian, from present participle of dilettare to delight, from Latin dilectare — more at delight