• synonyms


See more synonyms for pretentious on Thesaurus.com
  1. characterized by assumption of dignity or importance, especially when exaggerated or undeserved: a pretentious, self-important waiter.
  2. making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious.
  3. full of pretense or pretension; having no factual basis; false.
Show More

Origin of pretentious

1835–45; earlier pretensious. See pretense, -ious
Related formspre·ten·tious·ly, adverbpre·ten·tious·ness, noun
Can be confusedportentous pretentious


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. pompous. 2. showy.

Synonym study

1. See bombastic. 2. See grandiose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pretentiously

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • M. Wilkie was comfortably lodged; but his rooms were most pretentiously ornamented.

    The Count's Millions

    Emile Gaboriau

  • They have no saloon on deck, though a couple of small apartments, abaft the paddle-boxes, are pretentiously called "pavilions."

    Down the Rhine

    Oliver Optic

  • This inference is borne out by the arguments so pretentiously announced.

  • This basin had originally been pretentiously ornamented, but time and vegetation had greatly improved these efforts of bad taste.

    The Cross of Berny

    Emile de Girardin

  • Pudge kicked clods in his path and was pretentiously occupied with a dead beetle which he had picked up.

    The Sturdy Oak

    Samuel Merwin, et al.

British Dictionary definitions for pretentiously


  1. making claim to distinction or importance, esp undeservedly
  2. having or creating a deceptive outer appearance of great worth; ostentatious
Show More
Derived Formspretentiously, 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

Word Origin and History for pretentiously



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.)).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper