Synonyms & Antonyms of pretentious

1 self-consciously trying to present an appearance of grandeur or importance
  • that pretentious couple always serves caviar at their parties, even though they themselves dislike it

Synonyms for pretentious

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Antonyms for pretentious

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

Synonyms for pretentious

Words Related to pretentious

Near Antonyms for pretentious

Antonyms for pretentious

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Frequently Asked Questions About pretentious

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

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Time Traveler for pretentious

Time Traveler

The first known use of pretentious was in 1832

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Cite this Entry

“Pretentious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pretentious

Nglish: Translation of pretentious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pretentious for Arabic Speakers


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