Be Not Pretentious
See what I did there?
I was sorting through things on the shelves near my desk yesterday and I came across this little note. Judging from the position of the words at the top of the page, I must have meant it as a title with more to come. But this is all there is. Now it’s eating at me. What prompted it? And now that it’s eating at me, what can I say about it? Was I addressing this to me or to everyone else?
I know the answer to that one. It was for me and anyone else who might have squirmed a little as they read it.
Most of the time when we get snooty we know what we’re doing even while we’re doing it. We use bigger words than we need to and we know it’s a bit show-offy but we think it’s also kind of clever. Sometimes we have to look up a pretentious word to make sure we’re using it right, because there’s nothing worse than trying to pull off pretentious and falling flat on our faces. (Well, my face, if this doesn’t apply to you.)
“Affected, mannered, exaggerated, pompous”—some synonyms for ‘pretentious’. Also, below, from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: (Who knew they had a sense of humor?)
In a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago someone commented that they had to look up a word I’d used. I laughed at first, but I can’t get it out of my mind. I can’t remember the word now, or the post, so I can’t even go back and change it—which I would do in a heartbeat if I thought it needed it. Because the last thing I want to be is lah-di-dah.
Or any of these things WordHippo came up with to describe ‘pretentiousness’:
I started this off as kind of a fun finger-poking but now I’m terrified. I’ve lived in dread of being supercilious. I didn’t even know about ‘toploftiness’, but now I’m going to have to watch out for that one, too.
But here’s the worst part of taking on this tiny bit of research I might never have started if I hadn’t run across those three words I wrote on a note pad long ago and then thought I could get a post out of them:
See that ‘More’ button in the image above? There are four more of them. Four more pages! Hundreds of words to describe ‘pretentiousness’. Which tells me we’ve got a problem. (Well maybe not you, but it feels like a problem to me.)
It could be this is hitting close to home because I’ve been binge-watching “The Gilded Age”, which is the American version of “Downton Abbey”, only far more pretentious. I mean, those people are downright vainglorious! Not to mention hoity-toity. They’re masters at glitziness, ritziness, swankiness, pompousness, and razzle-dazzle.
I find it really odd that I found that little note just when I was binge-watching “The Gilded Age”. As if it was a warning of some kind. Or a bad joke. Or a rap on the shoulder to tell me I’d better watch it…
But I’m getting dizzy from all of it and losing track, so I’ll end this before I get in trouble again. I’m going to try and lean on one-syllable words for a while. A kind of R&R. (I could have said monosyllabic but that smacks of putting on airs. I’m trying to stay away from airs.)
So bye for now. But think on it and let me know how you feel. It is good we can talk like this. I can not say it will last.
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