os·​ten·​ta·​tion | \ ˌä-stən-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce ostentation (audio) \

Definition of ostentation

1 : excessive display : vain and unnecessary show especially for the purpose of attracting attention, admiration, or envy : pretentiousness She dresses stylishly without ostentation. an aesthetic preference for function over ostentation— Wendell Garrett their ostentation of new wealth and their prodigality with it— Mark Sullivan
2 archaic : an act of displaying

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Examples of ostentation in a Sentence

The actress avoids ostentation. She owns a small house and drives an inexpensive car. He writes simply and clearly and without ostentation.

Recent Examples on the Web

These palatial complexes often combine ostentation, minimal contact with local communities and abundant opportunities for overindulgence. New York Times, "Crisis Hits Dominican Republic Over Deaths of U.S. Tourists," 23 June 2019 The Ours Polaire pieces are emblematic of Royère’s spirit of absolutely free creativity and reflect a true elegance without any kind of ostentation. Stephen Wallis, Town & Country, "This Polar Bear Sofa Is Beloved By the Very Rich," 15 Apr. 2019 Abdalla suggests that, like so many other aspects of millennial psychology, the culture of ostentation in America could be the result of the financial crisis of 2008. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "The Psychological Impact of Seeing YouTubers Spend Millions," 26 June 2019 There is leisure, by some assumed to be the basis of culture, by others to be a form of ostentation, not at all to be associated with culture. Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Is Poverty Necessary?," 10 June 2019 Free of crowds, ostentation, tracts of cookie-cutter condos and franchise mall fare like Nordstrom and Forever 21, Telluride is independent and feels that way. Alex Bhattacharji, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Telluride Keeps Being Named the Best U.S. Ski Town," 5 Dec. 2018 So nobody objected when Alexander Zickler, the beneficiary of Alonso’s generosity, raced over to thank him, with pantomime ostentation, for the assist. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Players Are Retired. But Try Telling Them the Games Don’t Matter.," 17 Apr. 2018 Young leads a life notorious among the 49ers for its lack of ostentation. Johnny Miller, SFChronicle.com, "5 years, $26 million for QB Young," 12 July 2018 For all the ostentation, for all the millions spent, this was a day for all generations and all people. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "A day in Windsor when everything changed," 19 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ostentation

Middle English ostentacion, from Middle French, from Latin ostentation-, ostentatio, from ostentare to display, frequentative of ostendere

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Statistics for ostentation

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for ostentation

The first known use of ostentation was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of ostentation

disapproving : an unnecessary display of wealth, knowledge, etc., that is done to attract attention, admiration, or envy

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More from Merriam-Webster on ostentation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ostentation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ostentation

Spanish Central: Translation of ostentation

Nglish: Translation of ostentation for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ostentation

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to form ideas or theories about something

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