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90s Slang You Should Know


[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.
Synonym Study
1. See show. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ostentation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had here no motive or occasion for ostentation, or, as it is called, popularity-hunting.

  • There was nothing sordid or vulgar, however, in all his ostentation.

  • The Uruguayan is curiously free from all evidence of this ostentation.

    Uruguay W. H. Koebel
  • He has now foregone all but his pride, and is yet vain-glorious in the ostentation of his melancholy.

    Microcosmography John Earle
  • Whatever their lack of ostentation, there was an air of distinction about both that would strike the most casual observer.

  • After all, every people must have its own forms of ostentation, pretence, and vulgarity.

    Over the Teacups Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Suffice it then that it took place at the parish church without any ostentation or fuss.

    In Strange Company Guy Boothby
  • But it is not sought after with the avarice to hoard, but with the ostentation to expend.

    Diary in America, Series One Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
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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