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

But after talking a big game - and playing up his signature mannerisms and outsize confidence, knocking Cliff down in the first round - it’s Lee who gets unceremoniously thrown into the side of a parked car by the stuntman before others intervene., "Bruce Lee’s family calls ‘Once Upon a Time’ ‘a mockery.’ Is it insult or homage?," 1 Aug. 2019 Gyllenhaal fully leans into this personality, exaggerating his mannerisms and speaking in a frenzy as the actor playing another actor playing a superhero so different from himself. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, "In ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home,’ Jake Gyllenhaal leans into his penchant for peculiarity," 8 July 2019 Donald Trump, by a Manhattan mile, was better known than any presidential candidate in history—his personal life, his business life, his tics, his mannerisms. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "So Long, Russia. And Thanks!," 28 Aug. 2018 She and Wang built the character of Billi together, blending Wang’s personal experiences with Lum’s own mannerisms. Molly Lambert, WSJ, "In Awkwafina’s Drama Debut, Family Matters," 11 July 2019 But his mannerisms and his brusque tone seem to be a riff on a blustery Fox News type like Bill O’Reilly or Jeanine Pirro. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Spider-Man: Far From Home turns a class-conscious hero into a tech bro," 3 July 2019 Favreau’s clearly confident in forcing realistic-looking creatures (with their equally realistic mannerisms) to do human things with their mouths and voices. John Wenzel, The Know, "“The Lion King” review: Disney’s CGI remake finds only fleeting beauty," 11 July 2019 Universal Pictures Of course that’s all a little silly; there’s almost no way these three women would have the same mannerisms and (especially) haircuts 25 years later. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a kooky, poppy romp," 18 July 2018 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

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

16 Aug 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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