• synonyms


[dil-i-tahnt, dil-i-tahnt, -tahn-tey, -tan-tee]
noun, plural dil·et·tantes, dil·et·tan·ti [dil-i-tahn-tee] /ˈdɪl ɪˈtɑn ti/.
  1. a person who takes up an art, activity, or subject merely for amusement, especially in a desultory or superficial way; dabbler.
  2. a lover of an art or science, especially of a fine art.
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  1. of or relating to dilettantes.
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Origin of dilettante

1725–35; < Italian, noun use of present participle of dilettare < Latin dēlectāre to delight
Related formsdil·et·tan·tish, dil·et·tan·te·ish, adjective

Synonyms for dilettante

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dilettanti

Historical Examples of dilettanti

  • He knew that the kings were dilettanti, that the theory of the aristocracies was liberal.

    Hilaire Belloc

    C. Creighton Mandell

  • The club is still in existence, under the name of the Dilettanti Club.

  • Variant spellings of dillettanti and dilettanti have been retained.

  • Perhaps you could introduce him to the Ingrains and other dilettanti.

  • That list was undoubtedly sketched out by a coterie of dilettanti.

    Books and Persons

    Arnold Bennett

British Dictionary definitions for dilettanti


noun plural -tantes or -tanti (-ˈtɑːntɪ)
  1. a person whose interest in a subject is superficial rather than professional
  2. a person who loves the arts
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  1. of or characteristic of a dilettante
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Derived Formsdilettantish or dilettanteish, adjectivedilettantism or dilettanteism, noun

Word Origin for dilettante

C18: from Italian, from dilettare to delight, from Latin dēlectāre
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

Word Origin and History for dilettanti



1733, borrowing of Italian dilettante "lover of music or painting," from dilettare "to delight," from Latin delectare (see delight (n.)). Originally without negative connotation, "devoted amateur," the pejorative sense emerged late 18c. by contrast with professional.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dilettanti in Culture


[(dil-uh-tahnt, dil-uh-tahnt)]

Someone who is interested in the fine arts as a spectator, not as a serious practitioner. Dilettante is most often used to mean a dabbler, someone with a broad but shallow attachment to any field.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.