Word: ostentatious

Pronunciation: ahs-tən-TAY-shəs

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Today’s vocabulary entry is a complementary post to last week’s. Remember how “opulent” indicates a lavish display of riches? Well, that’s a perfect example of “ostentatious” behavior, as it aims to impress more than anything else.

“Ostentatious” defines anything that is intended to draw attention in a very showy manner. Also known in its noun form “ostentation”, the word comes from the Latin noun ostentatio (“exhibition”), which in turn stems from the verb ostentare (“to show”). These can be traced back to the verb ostendere, meaning “to make clear” or “to point out”.

When describing a diversity of characters, “ostentatious” is a good word to consider for those who are the biggest show-offs. Note that so far, I’ve only ever seen this word being used to indicate actions involving concrete objects, so similar words like “pretentious” or “pedantic” are probably better options to convey abstract ideas. In any case, if your characters like to throw money around and constantly show off their possessions, their displays are “ostentatious” indeed!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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