[os-ten-tey-shuh s, -tuh n-]


characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others: an ostentatious dresser.
(of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended to attract notice: Lady Bountiful's ostentatious charity.

Origin of ostentatious

First recorded in 1650–60; ostentat(ion) + -ious
Related formsos·ten·ta·tious·ly, adverbos·ten·ta·tious·ness, nounun·os·ten·ta·tious, adjectiveun·os·ten·ta·tious·ly, adverb

Synonyms for ostentatious

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

Examples from the Web for unostentatious

Historical Examples of unostentatious

  • His generosity to brother artists in need was splendid, but quiet and unostentatious.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Unostentatious in her work, yet such service cannot escape comment.

    Oswald Langdon

    Carson Jay Lee

  • “She is my ideal of unostentatious respectability,” answered MacShaughnassy.

    Novel Notes

    Jerome K. Jerome

  • By nature he was a democrat, plain, simple, and unostentatious.

  • Table appointments at this time were most simple and unostentatious.

    As I Remember

    Marian Gouverneur

British Dictionary definitions for unostentatious



characterized by pretentious, showy, or vulgar display
Derived Formsostentatiously, adverb
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 unostentatious

1747, from un- (1) "not" + ostentatious. Related: Unostentatiously.



1701, from ostentation + -ous. Earlier in a similar sense were ostentative (c.1600); ostentive (1590s). Related: Ostentatiously; ostentatiousness (1650s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper