Definition of ostentation in English:



  • Pretentious and vulgar display, especially of wealth and luxury, intended to impress or attract notice.

    ‘the office was spacious, but without any trace of ostentation’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was totally without ostentation or pretension and totally disinterested in wealth, honours or managerial power.’
    • ‘But they had to be careful not to show their wealth with too much ostentation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His dream project is a monumental display of force and ostentation that has precious little value as a piece of drama or popular history.’
    • ‘It is clear that these costumes were worn as tokens of stately ostentation and to display the authority of the wearer.’
    • ‘Complaining about this kind of ostentation, and this evidence of conspicuous consumption, of course makes one sound like Scrooge.’
    • ‘Unusually for a hotel of such quality, Pool House is run almost entirely by the charming owner family, and without a hint of 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After all, ostentation and luxury do not translate into a truly modern city.’
    • ‘Perhaps through such long experience, the hotel somehow manages to both reek of exclusivity and wealth while dodging gaudy ostentation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By the beginning of the twentieth century the representative symbols of luxury and ostentation had come full circle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dandy rejected ostentation in favor of clean lines, somber materials and colors, impeccable cut, and perfect fit.’
    • ‘John Calvin's faith offers predestined salvation for a lucky few and requires adherents to work hard and shun ostentation.’
    • ‘Spanish tiling, pastel shades and walls partly of exposed stone and partly of wood panels create a stylish ambience without a hint of 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.’
    showiness, show, showing off, ostentatiousness
    pretentiousness, pretension, vulgarity, conspicuousness, obtrusiveness, display, flamboyance, gaudiness, garishness, tinsel, brashness, loudness, extravagance, ornateness, theatricality, kitschness, affectation, bad taste, tastelessness, self-advertisement, exhibitionism, flaunting
    flashiness, flash, flashness, glitz, glitziness, ritziness, swankiness, swank, splashiness
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Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin ostentatio(n-), from the verb ostentare, frequentative of ostendere stretch out to view.