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[os-ten-tey-shuh s, -tuh n-] /ˌɒs tɛnˈteɪ ʃəs, -tən-/
characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others:
an ostentatious dresser.
(of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended to attract notice:
Lady Bountiful's ostentatious charity.
Origin of ostentatious
1650-60; ostentat(ion) + -ious
Related forms
ostentatiously, adverb
ostentatiousness, noun
unostentatious, adjective
unostentatiously, adverb
1. See grandiose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ostentatious
  • The city lacks ostentatious palaces, temples, or monuments.
  • The area's ostentatious peasantry has mostly acquired its gaudy real estate with the help of remittances from abroad.
  • The transformation of the chateau from hunting lodge to ostentatious summer palace was only the start.
  • There is no ostentatious display of dressmaking technique, no fussy details.
  • ostentatious display was not only considered bad taste, it was potentially politically dangerous.
  • They had to concentrate on fighting one another and keeping up their images through ostentatious displays of wealth.
  • His music is ornate, ostentatious, curious and vivacious.
  • Underneath this plain gown, though, he sports a satin coat and a waistcoat with ostentatious embroidery.
  • Visitors should avoid wearing expensive jewelry, displaying large sums of cash in public, or otherwise appearing ostentatious.
  • It is used by students who want to disturb the teacher in an ostentatious way.
British Dictionary definitions for ostentatious


characterized by pretentious, showy, or vulgar display
Derived Forms
ostentatiously, adverb
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 ostentatious

1701, from ostentation + -ous. Earlier in a similar sense were ostentative (c.1600); ostentive (1590s). Related: Ostentatiously; ostentatiousness (1650s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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