9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[os-ten-tey-shuh n, -tuh n-] /ˌɒs tɛnˈteɪ ʃən, -tən-/
pretentious or conspicuous show, as of wealth or importance; display intended to impress others.
Archaic. the act of showing or exhibiting; display.
Origin of ostentation
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English ostentacioun < Middle French ostentation < Latin ostentātiōn- (stem of ostentātiō), equivalent to ostentāt(us) past participle of ostentāre to display, exhibit, frequentative of ostendere to present, display (equivalent to os-, var of ob- ob- + ten(dere) to stretch + -t- frequentative suffix + -ātus -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nonostentation, noun
1. pretension, pretense. See show. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ostentation
  • It was felt to connote flash and ostentation rather than style and elegance.
  • He shuns ostentation and is a conspicuous supporter of good causes.
  • If their ostentation does not exceed their fortune, all will be well.
  • He was brilliant but bore his brilliance lightly without ostentation.
  • The time-shift works brilliantly since both periods favoured elegance and ostentation.
  • There's something delicious about that totem of minimalism being slathered in ostentation.
  • As is the case with other luxury brands, some consumers are nevertheless motivated more by the sheer ostentation of the product.
  • In a place where ostentation and bragging rights are consummate virtues, a sudden flu of reticence seems to be sweeping the town.
  • Despite his vast wealth, he has always eschewed ostentation.
  • Perhaps ostentation and humility can coexist after all.
British Dictionary definitions for ostentation


pretentious, showy, or vulgar display
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 ostentation

mid-15c., from Old French ostentacion (mid-14c.) and directly from Latin ostentationem (nominative ostentatio) "showing, exhibition, vain display," noun of action from past participle stem of ostentare "to display," frequentative of ostendere "to show" (see ostensible).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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