Definition of sententious in English:

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Pronunciation: /senˈten(t)SHəs/


Given to moralizing in a pompous or affected manner: he tried to encourage his men with sententious rhetoric
More example sentences
  • He did not, as some of his critics charged, mean this as a call for sententious moralising on the part of historians.
  • Ask a dancer - or any artist, for that matter - to talk about her/his art, and you invariably get a grandiose mission statement, peppered with sententious remarks about ‘Tradition, Innovation, Vision and Spirit’.
  • The book's title comes from a sententious line of Henry James's, and the opening preamble announces that multiplicity is going to be an important theme.
moralistic, moralizing, sanctimonious, self-righteous, pietistic, pious, priggish, judgmental;
pompous, pontifical, self-important
informal preachy



Pronunciation: /senˈten(t)SHəslē/
Example sentences
  • Norman Mailer, who crossed paths and swords with Miles at least once, wrote sententiously about trying to ‘capture the Prince of Truth in the act of switching a style.’
  • Faulks rather sententiously disclaims the practice of concluding a novel with a list of references ‘as though all art aspired to the condition of a student essay.’
  • They are political or philosophical, merrily inebriate or sententiously sober.


Pronunciation: /senˈten(t)SHəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • What it lacks, perhaps, is that most vigilant sentry against sententiousness and cliché: a sense of humour.
  • He supplies a grand moral sententiousness blessedly free from the messy squalor of life as it's lived here, I suppose.
  • Exquisitely photographed without lapsing into sententiousness, precisely constructed but never stiff, Forest of Bliss captures the mystery and beauty of its subjects and their lives, without abstracting or sentimentalizing them.


Late Middle English: from Latin sententiosus, from sententia 'opinion' (see sentence). The original sense was 'full of meaning or wisdom', later becoming depreciatory.

Words that rhyme with sententious

conscientious, contentious, licentious, pretentious, tendentious

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sen·ten·tious

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