Definition of highfalutin in US English:


(also hifalutin, highfaluting)


  • (especially of speech, writing, or ideas) pompous or pretentious.

    ‘you don't want any highfalutin jargon’
    • ‘I could offer more highfalutin reasons as well.’
    • ‘What all this highfalutin molecular biology should teach us is that we can't just throw up our hands and say: ‘His genes made him do it.’’
    • ‘The phrase may seem at first highfalutin, but it accurately describes the phenomenon, and the phenomenon itself is not a rare thing.’
    • ‘While some of his ideas might be highfalutin, you would never know it, because the dialogue sounds real and fresh.’
    • ‘It's kinda less highfalutin than the books I've just finished.’
    • ‘Whatever theme Jones claims to explore in his highfalutin program note, the actual choreography lacks depth, structure, musicality - rigor of any kind, really.’
    • ‘I don't want to sound highfalutin, but the idea for that came to me from a play I'd seen at the old Vic under Jonathan Miller.’
    • ‘There's no surer way for a writer to make herself look stupid than to employ a highfalutin phrase incorrectly.’
    • ‘‘Advanced education for nail professionals’ may seem like a rather highfalutin subtitle for a magazine about manicuring.’
    • ‘Mostly by implication, the film takes on education and upward mobility; the meaning of competition; our deep ambivalence about highfalutin language; and, of course, the cult of the precocious child.’
    • ‘They persuasively argue that in all the generalized and sometimes highfalutin talk about globalization, the central role that women play in the massive migrations that define and sustain the new economy has been ignored.’
    • ‘Yes, but on the other hand, Bob Dylan can be a bit highfaluting, a bit obscure - who would have thought that Tamborine Man is something to do with a drug dealer or something.’
    • ‘On prior evenings I had found that the most highfalutin dishes succeed the least.’
    • ‘But whatever highfalutin label you put on Terkel's technique, it boils down to his ability to relate to people and get them to open up and talk frankly about their lives.’
    • ‘Forget all that highfalutin talk about competition and laissez-faire.’
    • ‘Although it is all highfalutin balderdash, a semblance of sense does surface here and there - for example, in the scenery and the cast of characters.’
    • ‘This may lead to a greater unwillingness among people in EU nations to listen to the highfaluting ideas of their leaders.’
    • ‘Recently, we've seen people start to fret about the looming attention crisis, which is a highfalutin way of saying they're becoming overwhelmed by the number of blogs in their RSS feeds.’
    • ‘The man has a talent for spewing highfalutin drivel (mainly in print), and it can taint his otherwise engaging records.’
    • ‘Another way the film startles is its highfalutin talk about prime numbers, chaos theory and French post-impressionist painters.’
    pretentious, affected, high-sounding, high-flown, lofty, grandiose, magniloquent grandiloquent, ornate, florid, flowery, overblown, overdone, overripe, overwrought, verbose, inflated, rhetorical, oratorical, turgid
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Mid 19th century (originally US): perhaps from high + fluting (present participle of flute).