Thesaurus

pretentious

adjective

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

Words Related to pretentious

Near Antonyms for pretentious

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

See the Dictionary Definition 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pretentious

Time Traveler for pretentious

Time Traveler

The first known use of pretentious was in 1832

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pretentious

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pretentious.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pretentious. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pretentious

Dictionary: Definition of pretentious

Spanish Central: Translation of pretentious

Nglish: Translation of pretentious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pretentious for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pretentious

What made you want to look up pretentious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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