Word of the Day

Saturday, October 18, 2003


\DIL-uh-tont; dil-uh-TONT; dil-uh-TON-tee; -TANT; -TAN-tee\ , noun;
An amateur or dabbler; especially, one who follows an art or a branch of knowledge sporadically, superficially, or for amusement only.
An admirer or lover of the fine arts.
Of or characteristic of a dilettante; amateurish.
As he had put it, it was a matter of principle, not money: Mistler family trusts, over which he exercised discretionary powers, had not been established to support dilettantes or would-be litterateurs waiting for inspiration.
-- Louis Begley, Mistler's Exit
His writings, which began as a schoolboy's jottings for the amusement of classmates, continued into adulthood, although he describes his youthful work as the musings of a dilettante.
-- David Gonzalez, "Eye on the Universe: A Poet Views It All From the Bronx", New York Times, December 25, 1991
At first his colleagues tended to dismiss this witty young dilettante poet as a scientific lightweight, even if he was an agreeable addition to their dinner table.
-- "Dr Alex Comfort", Times (London), March 28, 2000
She was, in the parlance of the time, a 'sermon taster', going to any church where the preaching was supposed to be good; for a dilettante churchgoer Brighton was then an exciting place to be.
-- Matthew Sturgis, Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography
Dilettante comes from the present participle of Italian delittare, "to delight," from Latin delectare, "to delight," frequentative of delicere, "to allure," from de- + lacere, "to entice."
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