Definition of pretentious in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈten(t)SHəs/


Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed: a pretentious literary device
More example sentences
  • Enough of this pseudo-intellectual posturing, these pretentious literary musings!
  • What you want to do if you actually fancy being a pretentious intellectual is read the book.
  • Sadly, it comes across more as a pretentious attempt to buy the world a coke.
affected, ostentatious, showy;
overambitious, pompous, artificial, inflated, overblown, high-sounding, flowery, grandiose, elaborate, extravagant, flamboyant, ornate, grandiloquent, magniloquent, sophomoric
informal flashy, highfalutin, fancy-pants, la-di-da, pseudo



Pronunciation: /prəˈten(t)SHəslē/
Example sentences
  • The dialogue is self-consciously clunky, the characters are stereotypes and each section is fronted with a pretentiously redundant quotation.
  • This movie, on the other hand, looks like it's going to be either a new horror classic that shapes the genre, or one of the most pretentiously awful films of all time.
  • Rather pretentiously, I always have this by the bed - I often find it soothing to read a few pages about the mating and migratory habits of swallows before I go to sleep.


Pronunciation: /prəˈten(t)SHəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • There is a lot of pretentiousness and snobbery associated with literature.
  • What was Joyce's excuse for such pretentiousness?
  • But at the same time this pretentiousness puts me off.


Mid 19th century: from French prétentieux, from prétention (see pretension1).

Words that rhyme with pretentious

conscientious, contentious, licentious, sententious, tendentious

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pre·ten·tious

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