as in superior
having a feeling of superiority that shows itself in an overbearing attitude a pretentious author whose books only appeal to equally pretentious readers

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

How is the word pretentious different from other adjectives like it?

The words ostentatious and showy are common synonyms of pretentious. While all three words mean "given to excessive outward display," pretentious implies an appearance of importance not justified by the thing's value or the person's standing.

a pretentious parade of hard words

When might ostentatious be a better fit than pretentious?

In some situations, the words ostentatious and pretentious are roughly equivalent. However, ostentatious stresses vainglorious display or parade.

the ostentatious summer homes of the rich

When is it sensible to use showy instead of pretentious?

The words showy and pretentious can be used in similar contexts, but showy implies an imposing or striking appearance but usually suggests cheapness or poor taste.

the performers' showy costumes

Thesaurus Entries Near pretentious

Cite this Entry

“Pretentious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on pretentious

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