man·​ner·​ism | \ˈma-nə-ˌri-zəm \

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 \ -​rist \ noun or adjective
manneristic \ ˌma-​nə-​ˈris-​tik \ 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

Massaro, a vibrant Claudius, overdoes the modern mannerisms in some of his other roles. Charles Mcnulty,, "Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' and Shaw's 'Saint Joan': A marathon for four actors, and the audience," 9 Apr. 2018 My uncle had arrived from Jigjiga that summer and was quickly charged with teaching my brothers and me Islamic mannerisms. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 So much of what makes the boogeyman horrifying to me is the mystery and almost cat-like mannerisms and curiosity of this character. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "See first photos of Jamie Lee Curtis vs. Michael Myers in horrifying new 'Halloween'," 5 June 2018 Even today, many autistic children are taught from a young age that hand-flapping, lack of eye contact or rocking —perfectly natural and normal mannerisms for autistic children — are inherently wrong. Ari Ne'eman, Vox, "The CDC just announced 1 in 59 children are autistic. Here’s why that’s not evidence of an epidemic.," 28 Apr. 2018 Ahead, read why Ivanka always makes the same pose and what her other mannerisms mean., "Ivanka Trump Does This Pose In Every Photo & Here's What It Means," 14 June 2018 This is a great place to start, because Paul Rudd has always been a surly teen banished to a grown man's body, with the mannerisms of a 5-year-old (who can relate?). Joshua Rivera, GQ, "Ant-Man and the Wasp," 5 July 2018 The computer program learns how to mimic the person’s facial expressions, mannerisms, voice and inflections. Deb Riechmann, The Seattle Times, "I never said that! High-tech deception of ‘deepfake’ videos," 3 July 2018 It could be forgiven some brutish mannerisms, but its drivability is remarkably small and comfortable. Mark Maynard,, "Nissan NV 3500 High Roof: The sky is the limit," 1 June 2018

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

25 Oct 2018

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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 \

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 \

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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