dilettante 1 of 2

as in amateur
lacking or showing a lack of expert skill many dilettante efforts could be seen at the sidewalk art show

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2 of 2


as in tinkerer
a person who regularly or occasionally engages in an activity as a pastime rather than as a profession a dilettante at heart, she was never willing to commit the time and effort that ballet demands

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as in scholar
dated a person having a knowledgeable and fine appreciation of the arts she writes about art not from the point of view of an artist but from that of a committed dilettante

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Synonym Chooser

How does the noun dilettante differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of dilettante are amateur, dabbler, and tyro. While all these words mean "a person who follows a pursuit without attaining proficiency or professional status," dilettante may apply to the lover of an art rather than its skilled practitioner but usually implies elegant trifling in the arts and an absence of serious commitment.

had no patience for dilettantes

When would amateur be a good substitute for dilettante?

Although the words amateur and dilettante have much in common, amateur often applies to one practicing an art without mastery of its essentials; in sports it may also suggest not so much lack of skill but avoidance of direct remuneration.

a painting obviously done by an amateur
remained an amateur despite lucrative offers

When is it sensible to use dabbler instead of dilettante?

The words dabbler and dilettante are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dabbler suggests desultory habits of work and lack of persistence.

a dabbler who started novels but never finished them

Where would tyro be a reasonable alternative to dilettante?

The meanings of tyro and dilettante largely overlap; however, tyro implies inexperience often combined with audacity with resulting crudeness or blundering.

shows talent but is still a mere tyro

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Cite this Entry

“Dilettante.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dilettante. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

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