[ pri-ten-shuhs ]
/ 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

pre·ten·tious·ly, adverbpre·ten·tious·ness, noun

Can be confused

portentous pretentious

Synonym study

1. See bombastic. 2. See grandiose. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pretentious

British Dictionary definitions for pretentious


/ (prɪˈtɛnʃəs) /


making claim to distinction or importance, esp undeservedly
having or creating a deceptive outer appearance of great worth; ostentatious

Derived Forms

pretentiously, adverbpretentiousness, 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