soi-di·​sant ˌswä-dē-ˈzäⁿ How to pronounce soi-disant (audio)
usually disparaging
: self-proclaimed, so-called
threw the soi-disant epic novel aside in disgust

Did you know?

Soi-disant, which in French means literally "saying oneself," is one of hundreds of French terms that entered English in the 18th century, during the period known as the Enlightenment. Even as political antipathies between France and England were being played out on battlefields in Europe and America, English speakers were peppering their speech and writing with French. Soi-disant first began appearing in English texts in the mid-18th century as a disparaging term for someone who styles or fancies himself or herself in some role. Crêpe, vis-à-vis, étiquette, and sang-froid are a few of the other French terms that became naturalized in English at that time.

Word History


French, literally, saying oneself

First Known Use

1752, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of soi-disant was in 1752


Dictionary Entries Near soi-disant

Cite this Entry

“Soi-disant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!