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

Definition of mannerism

1a : exaggerated or affected (see affected entry 2 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 mannerism (audio) \ noun or adjective
manneristic \ ˌma-​nə-​ˈri-​stik How to pronounce mannerism (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 His mannerism may also mirror Golden as far as personality on the field. Katherine Fitzgerald, The Arizona Republic, 11 May 2021 Some critics hail these final works as a supreme revolt against cinematic convention; others detect symptoms of mannerism and decline. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 8 Feb. 2021 Sharply written and performed without the slightest actorly mannerism, the scene stands apart from the film's unsteady mix of the comic and the melodramatic. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Aug. 2020 Black men do this at work by thinking consciously about their attire, tone and pitch of voice, and behavioral mannerisms. Rashawn Ray, The Conversation, 7 May 2020 Just kind of the way the playbook is set up, the way the program is being run, their mannerisms, a lot of them are the same. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, 6 May 2020 His most unforgettable stories are the ones that set his mannerism against literary forms that stress the essentially social nature of language: the index, the aphorism, the commonplace book, the interview, the e-mail. Merve Emre, The New York Review of Books, 10 Mar. 2020 To embody her character, Garner first studied her own manager’s assistant, taking on her mannerisms. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, 30 Jan. 2020 The best addition is O'Connor, who nails a carbon copy impression of the Prince of Wales' accent and mannerisms, turning a public figure often portrayed negatively into a sympathetic (if incredibly naive) young man. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for mannerism

Time Traveler

The first known use of mannerism was in 1800

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Statistics for mannerism

Last Updated

20 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mannerism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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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