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How to pronounce pretentious (audio)


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Dictionary definition of pretentious

Displaysing an exaggerated sense of importance, wealth, sophistication, or knowledge in a manner that appears false or exaggerated.
"He had a pretentious habit of name-dropping famous people he claimed to know."

Detailed meaning of pretentious

It implies an attempt to appear more cultured, refined, or impressive than one genuinely is, often to gain social status or approval. A pretentious individual may come across as insincere, snobbish, or affected in their speech, behavior, or tastes, often exaggerating their achievements or possessions in an effort to appear superior or more knowledgeable than others. Pretentiousness can manifest in various aspects of life, from art and fashion to speech and social interactions, and is typically seen as inauthentic or ostentatious by those who perceive it.

Example sentences containing pretentious

1. Her pretentious attitude made it difficult to have a genuine conversation with her.
2. The restaurant's menu was filled with pretentious descriptions that made it hard to choose a meal.
3. The art gallery's pretentious atmosphere intimidated many visitors.
4. The pretentious fashion designer only catered to the elite clientele.
5. Their pretentious wedding ceremony was over-the-top and extravagant.
6. The critic accused the film of being pretentious and self-indulgent.

History and etymology of pretentious

The adjective 'pretentious' has its etymological roots in Latin and Old French. It is derived from the Latin word 'praetensus,' which is the past participle of 'praetendere,' meaning 'to stretch forth' or 'to claim falsely.' In Old French, this evolved into 'pretencious,' signifying something that was claimed or professed falsely. Over time, the term 'pretentious' came to describe individuals or things that display an exaggerated sense of importance, wealth, sophistication, or knowledge, often in a manner that appears false or exaggerated. Thus, the etymology of 'pretentious' highlights its historical connection to the act of claiming something falsely, which aligns with its modern meaning of being ostentatious or affected in a manner that is not genuine.

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Further usage examples of pretentious

1. She found his pretentious speech to be insufferable.
2. The pretentious book was full of complex language that overshadowed the story.
3. He wore pretentious clothing to project an image of wealth and sophistication.
4. The mansion's décor was so pretentious that it felt more like a museum than a home.
5. The pretentious music critic dismissed the popular song as shallow and unrefined.
6. His pretentious behavior at the party made him the subject of gossip.
7. The art collector had a reputation for being pretentious and snobbish.
8. The pretentious couple constantly bragged about their extravagant vacations.
9. The pretentious display of wealth and opulence in the penthouse was overwhelming.
10. The pretentious architecture of the building drew mixed reviews from the public.
11. The pretentious air of the upscale restaurant made some diners uncomfortable.
12. She found his pretentious taste in literature to be a bit elitist.
13. The film director's pretentious style alienated some viewers while captivating others.
14. The pretentious wine tasting event attracted a crowd of wine connoisseurs.
15. The new restaurant had a pretentious atmosphere, with its fancy decor and high prices.



ostentatious, modest, humble, unpretentious


Prefix pre-, Deceit and Pretense, Communication and Expression, Social Hierarchy and Relationships, Fake and Insincere

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