Definition of ostentation in English:



mass noun
  • The pretentious or showy display of wealth and luxury, designed to impress.

    ‘the office was spacious, but without any trace of ostentation’
    • ‘It is clear that these costumes were worn as tokens of stately ostentation and to display the authority of the wearer.’
    • ‘His dream project is a monumental display of force and ostentation that has precious little value as a piece of drama or popular history.’
    • ‘Laurence's trademark flair for ostentation comes out in his interior designs and his clothes - and he insists he is just the same away from the TV cameras.’
    • ‘About 35 serene green miles later, you're in Leiden, a university city girdled by canals and dominated by the gothic ostentation of its 15 th-century church.’
    • ‘He was totally without ostentation or pretension and totally disinterested in wealth, honours or managerial power.’
    • ‘But now, the first lines have been built, and they make a modest, decent contribution to the city, adding, without flash or ostentation, a literally new dimension.’
    • ‘Perhaps through such long experience, the hotel somehow manages to both reek of exclusivity and wealth while dodging gaudy ostentation.’
    • ‘Seeking to flee worldly pursuits by locating their monasteries within remote valleys, the Cistercians emphasized simplified ritual and inner meditation rather than outward ostentation.’
    • ‘A quiet mystery man who exudes wisdom without ostentation, Kerr started his career as professor at UC Berkeley, became chancellor of Berkeley, and finally president of the whole UC system.’
    • ‘He also shunned ostentation, and his increasing wealth was not reflected in the increasing size and cost of his cars; he drove a modest BMW.’
    • ‘Unusually for a hotel of such quality, Pool House is run almost entirely by the charming owner family, and without a hint of ostentation.’
    • ‘But they had to be careful not to show their wealth with too much ostentation.’
    • ‘John Calvin's faith offers predestined salvation for a lucky few and requires adherents to work hard and shun ostentation.’
    • ‘By the beginning of the twentieth century the representative symbols of luxury and ostentation had come full circle.’
    • ‘Complaining about this kind of ostentation, and this evidence of conspicuous consumption, of course makes one sound like Scrooge.’
    • ‘I walked in without anyone noticing and was surprised by how low-key it was - nice hardwood floors and the distinct lack of ostentation at which WASPs excel.’
    • ‘The pomposity and ostentation of the rich seems to heighten the sense of our ultimate worthlessness.’
    • ‘Spanish tiling, pastel shades and walls partly of exposed stone and partly of wood panels create a stylish ambience without a hint of ostentation.’
    • ‘The dandy rejected ostentation in favor of clean lines, somber materials and colors, impeccable cut, and perfect fit.’
    • ‘After all, ostentation and luxury do not translate into a truly modern city.’
    showiness, show, showing off, ostentatiousness
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin ostentatio(n-), from the verb ostentare, frequentative of ostendere ‘stretch out to view’.