man·​ner·​ism | \ ˈma-nə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce mannerism (audio) \

Definition of mannerism

1a : exaggerated or affected (see affected sense 1) adherence to a particular style or manner : artificiality, preciosity refined almost to the point of mannerism— Winthrop Sargeant
b often capitalized : an art style in late 16th century Europe characterized by spatial incongruity and excessive elongation of the human figures
2 : a characteristic and often unconscious mode or peculiarity of action, bearing, or treatment The actor can mimic the President's mannerisms perfectly.

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Other Words from mannerism

mannerist \ ˈma-​nə-​rist How to pronounce mannerist (audio) \ noun or adjective
manneristic \ ˌma-​nə-​ˈri-​stik How to pronounce manneristic (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for mannerism

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

Examples of mannerism in a Sentence

The actor can mimic the President's mannerisms perfectly. quirky mannerisms such as toying with her hair and tapping her toes

Recent Examples on the Web

The collapse had begun 11 days earlier, with news that Biden had lifted phrases and mannerisms from a British Labour Party politician while making closing remarks at a debate. Author: Neena Satija, Anchorage Daily News, "Echoes of Biden’s 1987 plagiarism scandal continue to reverberate," 5 June 2019 Naturally, Whalen and the rest of his castmates needed to do as much preparation as possible to nail the very specific roles and mannerisms of the royal family. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The Most Surprising Things Jordan Whalen Learned Playing Prince William," 27 May 2019 Janowski favored fast tempos and clipped accents in the modern Beethoven style, but, rather than come off as mannerisms, his choices gave unusual crispness to the rhythms and clarity to the textures. John Von Rhein,, "Marek Janowski's belated CSO downtown debut sends electric charge through Orchestra Hall," 1 June 2018 Day-Lewis went all in for this performance, having carefully studied Brown’s mannerisms and behavior in order to get every last facial tic down pat. Jennifer Vineyard, New York Times, "The Best TV Shows and Movies New to Netflix, Amazon and More in June," 1 June 2018 Trump has many of the mannerisms and much of the style of a plebiscitary dictator who wields demagogic rhetoric to turn the crowd against liberal institutions. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The latest Obamacare ruling is part of a larger conservative attack on democracy," 15 Dec. 2018 Not only does the body double mimic the soprano’s slower-than-slow hand gestures and other physical mannerisms with eerie exactitude, but her face has been digitally altered to resemble the singer’s. Terry Teachout, WSJ, "Diva Back From the Dead," 14 Nov. 2018 No pretense, no affectation, no empty mannerisms — just the whole truth and nothing but the truth, delivered in great surges of sound. Howard Reich,, "The bold art of Denise Thimes surges at Winter's Jazz Club," 17 Mar. 2018 Sabella was tasked with learning English and practicing American mannerisms. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Woman's Day, "The Real Story Behind the Musical 'Chicago'," 12 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mannerism.' 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 mannerism

1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for mannerism

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for mannerism

The first known use of mannerism was in 1800

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More Definitions for mannerism



English Language Learners Definition of mannerism

: a person's particular way of talking or moving


man·​ner·​ism | \ ˈma-nə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce mannerism (audio) \

Kids Definition of mannerism

: a habit (as of looking or moving in a certain way) that occurs commonly in a person's behavior


man·​ner·​ism | \ ˈman-ə-ˌriz-əm How to pronounce mannerism (audio) \

Medical Definition of mannerism

: a characteristic and often unconscious mode or peculiarity of action, bearing, or treatment especially : any pointless and compulsive activity performed repeatedly

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More from Merriam-Webster on mannerism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mannerism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mannerism

Spanish Central: Translation of mannerism

Nglish: Translation of mannerism for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mannerism

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characterized by aphorism

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