9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pri-ten-shuh s] /prɪˈtɛn ʃəs/
characterized by assumption of dignity or importance, especially when exaggerated or undeserved:
a pretentious, self-important waiter.
making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious.
full of pretense or pretension; having no factual basis; false.
Origin of pretentious
1835-45; earlier pretensious. See pretense, -ious
Related forms
pretentiously, adverb
pretentiousness, noun
Can be confused
portentous, pretentious.
2. pompous. See bombastic. 3. showy. See grandiose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pretentious
  • But with its pretentious aura, it doesn't have any idea how ludicrous it is.
  • But consider the pretentious piece of tripe in which he is, let us say with kindness, currently trapped.
  • At 18, Eleanor is overly instructive, with a pretentious manner of speaking.
  • None of the staffers who helped me was pretentious or pushy.
  • The trouble with symphonic writing is that it is starched collar jazz, formal disciplined and ofttimes pretentious.
  • It is suspicious of anything elegant or stylish or pretentious.
  • It's a little pretentious, but both pop and jazz jocks should find a good program spot for it.
  • And she isn't too prissy or pretentious.
  • He's bookish but not pedantic or pretentious.
  • In my opinion, evolutionary theories such as this are pretentious and offensive.
British Dictionary definitions for pretentious


making claim to distinction or importance, esp undeservedly
having or creating a deceptive outer appearance of great worth; ostentatious
Derived Forms
pretentiously, adverb
pretentiousness, noun
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 pretentious

1836, from French prétentieux (17c.), from prétention "pretension," from Medieval Latin pretentionem (nominative pretentio) "pretension," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin praetendere (see pretend (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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