V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. acting as though more important, valuable, or special than is warranted; 2. appearing to have an unrealistically high self-image; 3. extravagantly and consciously showy or glamorous

Synonyms: pompous, ostentatious, showy, inflated, bombastic, affected, self-important

Antonyms: unpretentious, humble

Tips: For the word pretentious, think of pretending, or putting on a façade, of superiority. Pretentious is similar to the words ostentatious, pompous, and bombastic. All four words are used to describe someone who is overly "showy"--someone who pretends. Pretentious is best used to describe someone who is trying to sound or appear more important than they are. Pompous is best used to describe someone who is too serious and too full of self-importance: "Pompous people don't like to hear jokes because they take themselves too seriously." Ostentatious is best used to describe someone who shows off their money or power in order to try to impress others. Finally, bombastic is used to refer to people who try to impress others when speaking; they try to use big words to sound intelligent and impressive, and are verbose and long-winded, but often with no substance.

Usage Examples:

When he tried to use big vocabulary words, he sounded pretentious. (showy, affected)

It would be much easier to be a fan of his great athletic ability if he wasn’t so pretentious. (showy, pompous)

She is so pretentious when she lifts her pinky while drinking a cup of tea! (affected, pompous)

He loves talking about his pretentious country house, which he never even visits. (ostentatious, showy)

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