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[dil-i-tahnt, dil-i-tahnt, -tahn-tey, -tan-tee] /ˈdɪl ɪˌtɑnt, ˌdɪl ɪˈtɑnt, -ˈtɑn teɪ, -ˈtæn ti/
noun, plural dilettantes, dilettanti
[dil-i-tahn-tee] /ˈdɪl ɪˈtɑn ti/ (Show IPA)
a person who takes up an art, activity, or subject merely for amusement, especially in a desultory or superficial way; dabbler.
a lover of an art or science, especially of a fine art.
of or relating to dilettantes.
Origin of dilettante
1725-35; < Italian, noun use of present participle of dilettare < Latin dēlectāre to delight
Related forms
dilettantish, dilettanteish, adjective
1. amateur. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dilettante
  • Most of my readers don't know I'm a dilettante techno musician.
  • When we separate him from his literary neighbours, it must be as a dilettante.
  • We were friends, but never easy -- I'd always had the feeling he thought me a lightweight or a dilettante.
  • If his manner was relaxed, his questioning courteous and his bearing almost patrician, he was no dilettante.
  • Yet he disdained the role of dilettante, always testing himself against the rigors of the marketplace.
  • Porter was no dilettante composer.
  • Gelernter's intellectual adventurism is the mark of a true Renaissance man or the desperate flailing of a scattershot dilettante.
  • They think of him as bit of a dilettante, a generalist rather than a specialist, even a journalist.
  • But some have mocked him as a globe-trotting dilettante who spends much of his time abroad instead of on the barricades.
  • The article portrayed her as an outspoken, partying dilettante.
British Dictionary definitions for dilettante


noun (pl) -tantes, -tanti (-ˈtɑːntɪ)
a person whose interest in a subject is superficial rather than professional
a person who loves the arts
of or characteristic of a dilettante
Derived Forms
dilettantish, dilettanteish, adjective
dilettantism, dilettanteism, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from dilettare to delight, from Latin dēlectāre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dilettante

1733, borrowing of Italian dilettante "lover of music or painting," from dilettare "to delight," from Latin delectare (see delight (n.)). Originally without negative connotation, "devoted amateur," the pejorative sense emerged late 18c. by contrast with professional.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dilettante in Culture
dilettante [(dil-uh-tahnt, dil-uh-tahnt)]

Someone who is interested in the fine arts as a spectator, not as a serious practitioner. Dilettante is most often used to mean a dabbler, someone with a broad but shallow attachment to any field.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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