Definition of pretentious in English:



  • Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed:

    ‘pretentious art films’
    ‘the pretentious jargon of wine experts’
    • ‘If it looks or sounds pretentious, then that is what it will be accused of.’
    • ‘Enough of this pseudo-intellectual posturing, these pretentious literary musings!’
    • ‘The film itself sounds like a pretentious waste of time, although it could be rather pretty.’
    • ‘This has been dismissed by most film writers as an inaccurate, pretentious bore.’
    • ‘Sadly, it comes across more as a pretentious attempt to buy the world a coke.’
    • ‘The council fools no one with its pretentious claims for being ‘of world stature’.’
    • ‘I was going to make a Cold War analogy here, but, let's face it, that would be ridiculously pretentious.’
    • ‘Apparently, the language used by wine writers is too flowery and pretentious.’
    • ‘Some thought her pretentious, of which there are many greater crimes.’
    • ‘Of course a lot of what he said was pretentious rubbish but that is normal for art critics.’
    • ‘If we were too serious it might have come off as pretentious, heavy handed or silly.’
    • ‘He also had a convoluted and elaborate manner of speech that many thought pretentious.’
    • ‘It's pleasingly literary without being pretentious; plot is in no way sacrificed to prose.’
    • ‘Is it just pretentious rhetoric that I am using to avoid facing myself?’
    • ‘One of the things I dislike is pretentious people who chat a lot of hot air.’
    • ‘What you want to do if you actually fancy being a pretentious intellectual is read the book.’
    • ‘It's loved by a small band of pretentious types who dress in black.’
    • ‘What critic, or prince, could resist something so impressive and so pretentious?’
    • ‘To say that the music is overblown and pretentious is rather an understatement.’
    • ‘Towards the other wives and their children she was always extremely imperious, haughty and pretentious.’
    affected, ostentatious, chichi, showy, flashy, tinselly, conspicuous, flaunty, tasteless, kitschy
    overambitious, pompous, artificial, flatulent, inflated, overblown, overripe, fustian, hyperventilated, mannered, high-flown, high-sounding, flowery, grandiose, big, grand, elaborate, extravagant, heroic, flamboyant, ornate, grandiloquent, magniloquent, bombastic, turgid, orotund, rhetorical, oratorical
    highfalutin, la-di-da, fancy-pants, posey, pseud, pseudo
    poncey, toffee-nosed
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Mid 19th century: from French prétentieux, from prétention (see pretension).