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1. A mannerism or habit that is assumed rather than natural, especially to impress others.
2. Behavior characterized by such mannerisms or habits; artificiality: a simpering manner that was mere affectation.

[Latin affectātiō, affectātiōn-, from affectātus, past participle of affectāre, to strive after; see affect2.]
Synonyms: affectation, pose1, air, mannerism
These nouns refer to personal behavior assumed for effect. An affectation is an artificial manner or behavior adopted to impress others or call attention to oneself: "Post-Renaissance scholars often adopted the affectation of recasting their names in classical form" (Steven Jay Gould).
A pose is a false manner or attitude usually intended to win favor or cover up a shortcoming: His humility is only a pose.
Air, meaning a distinctive but intangible quality, does not always imply sham: The director had an air of authority.
In the plural, however, it suggests affectation and self-importance: The movie star was putting on airs.
Mannerism denotes an idiosyncratic trait or quirk that others may find attractive but is often perceived as needlessly distracting: "I can picture ... her shaking her hands in that odd mannerism, like someone wanting to strangle a chicken" (Jill Dawson).


1. an assumed manner of speech, dress, or behaviour, esp one that is intended to impress others
2. (often foll by of) deliberate pretence or false display: affectation of nobility.
[C16: from Latin affectātiōn- an aiming at, striving after, from affectāre; see affect2]


(ˌæf ɛkˈteɪ ʃən)

1. the pretense of having a knowledge, standing, etc., not possessed.
2. conspicuous artificiality of manner or appearance; pretension.
3. an artificial trait, expression, or the like.
[1540–50; < Latin]



camp or campy Flagrantly and flauntingly effeminate or homosexual; affected, artificial; theatrical, exaggerated, ostentatious. Although the exact origin of this slang term is obscure, the second and third senses seem to be outgrowths of the first. Campy did not come into use until 1959, although the adjective camp dates from 1909. The verb to camp, in use since 1931, means to flaunt one’s homosexuality; to ham it up; to overact or exaggerate; often camp up or camp it up.

Boys and men with painted faces and dyed hair flaunt themselves camping and whooping for hours each night. (New Broadway Brevities (N.Y.), 1931)

The noun camp refers to an “ironic or amusing quality present in an extravagant gesture, style, or form, especially when inappropriate or out of proportion to the content that is expressed” (Random House Diet). When such a relationship is consciously used it is known as high camp, whereas when it is unwittingly or inadequately used it is called low camp.

High Camp is the whole emotional basis of the Ballet … and of course of Baroque art. (Christopher Isher-wood, World in Evening, 1954)

kewpie doll A woman who affects infantile behavior and mannerisms. This expression is derived from the cherubic doll designed by R. C. O’Neill, and named after the mythological god Cupid. The phrase is usually applied disparagingly to women who act overly cute and coquettish, assume baby talk, and dress younger than their years.

She’d be like some kewpie doll, all sheen and varnish and eyes that really roll. (N. Cohn. A WopBopa-LooBop, 1969)

la-di-da Exhibiting affectations in appearance, mannerisms, speech, style, or status; pretentious; foppish. This expression is an onomatopoeic and derisive imitation of the speech patterns of those with affected gentility. A variation is lardy-dardy.

I may tell you we are all homely girls. We don’t want any la-di-da members. (The Westminster Gazette, January 31, 1895)

La-di-da is sometimes used as a noun referring to a person who fits the above definition, or as an interjection, particularly when one intends derision or ridicule of those who put on the airs of high society. The latter usage received renewed popularity as a result of its repeated use in Woody Allen’s movie, “Annie Hall” (1977).

macaroni See STYLISHNESS.

make dainty To be scrupulous, overly sensitive, or unnecessarily wary; to have great respect or awe for something and exercise restraint in all matters relating to it. Although no longer current, this expression was popular in the 16th century and appears in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

Ah ha, my mistresses! which of you all

Will now deny to dance? She that makes dainty,

She, I’ll swear, hath corns. (I,v)

As in the above citation, make dainty often connotes pretense and affectation.

niminy-piminy Affected, mincing, namby-pamby; artificially nice or refined; effeminate; childishly cute. This once popular British colloquialism, combining two rhyming nonsense words, was first used in The Heiress in an attempt to teach one of the characters, Miss Alscrip, to speak in a refined manner:

The way to acquire the correct Paphian mimp is to stand before the glass and pronounce repeatedly “niminy piminy.” The lips cannot fail to take the right ply. (John Burgoyne, The Heiress, 1786)

prunes and prisms Affectedly proper speech or behavior, mincing mannerisms. This expression, once used to ridicule a saccharine manner of speaking or writing, derives from Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit (1855), in which Amy Dorrit is urged to develop a more refined manner of speech:

Father is rather vulgar, my dear. … Papa … gives a pretty form to the lips. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism, are all very good words for the lips; especially prunes and prism.

put on the dog To affect sophistication and urbanity; to adopt pretentious mannerisms. This expression, of dubious American origin, has seen an upsurge in usage during the 20th century.

An editor’s unexampled opportunities for putting on the dog, and throwing his weight about. (P. G. Wodehouse, Eggs, Beans, and Crumpets, 1940)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.affectation - a deliberate pretense or exaggerated displayaffectation - a deliberate pretense or exaggerated display
pretending, pretense, feigning, simulation, pretence - the act of giving a false appearance; "his conformity was only pretending"
attitude - a theatrical pose created for effect; "the actor struck just the right attitude"
radical chic - an affectation of radical left-wing views and the fashionable dress and lifestyle that goes with them


noun pretence, show, posing, posturing, act, display, appearance, pose, façade, simulation, sham, pretension, veneer, artifice, mannerism, insincerity, pretentiousness, hokum (slang, chiefly U.S. & Canad.), artificiality, fakery, affectedness, assumed manners, false display, unnatural imitation He writes well, without fuss or affectation.


Artificial behavior adopted to impress others:
affectedness, air (used in plural), mannerism, pose, pretense.


[ˌæfekˈteɪʃən] Nafectación f, falta f de naturalidad affectationsafectación fsing


[ˌæfɛkˈteɪʃən] naffectation f


(= pretence)Vortäuschung f, → Vorgabe f
(= artificiality)Affektiertheit f no pl; her affectations annoy meihr affektiertes Benehmen ärgert mich; an affectationeine affektierte Angewohnheit


[ˌæfɛkˈteɪʃn] naffettazione f affectations nplmodi mpl affettati, leziosaggini fpl


n. artificio, afectación.
References in classic literature ?
He found nothing to perplex or disappoint, much to admire and approve, for overlooking a few little affectations of speech and manner, she was as sprightly and graceful as ever, with the addition of that indescribable something in dress and bearing which we call elegance.
I desire an explanation: playing and trifling are completely banished out of my mind; and I can't dance attendance on your affectations now
Well," said the curate, "that and the second, third, and fourth parts all stand in need of a little rhubarb to purge their excess of bile, and they must be cleared of all that stuff about the Castle of Fame and other greater affectations, to which end let them be allowed the over-seas term, and, according as they mend, so shall mercy or justice be meted out to them; and in the mean time, gossip, do you keep them in your house and let no one read them.
She was biting her sugar, and testifying her pleasure by pretty gestures and affectations with which, had she her reason, she might have imitated her parrot or her cat.
cried D'Artagnan, with that ingenuous roughness which women often prefer to the affectations of politeness, because it betrays the depths of the thought and proves that feeling prevails over reason.
There you might have seen a throng of young females, not filled with envyings of each other's charms, nor displaying the ridiculous affectations of gentility, nor yet moving in whalebone corsets, like so many automatons, but free, inartificially happy, and unconstrained.
A third, higher-pitched, and full of pleasant affectations, broke in.
Brought up as a Corsican, Ginevra was, in some sense, a child of Nature; falseness was a thing unknown to her; she gave herself up without reserve to her impressions; she acknowledged them, or, rather, allowed them to be seen without the affectations of petty and calculating coquetry, characteristic of Parisian girlhood.
put out his tongue, shook his head, made a grimace, and in the very midst of these affectations,--
She was wantonly aesthetic; but she was an excellent creature, kind and good natured; and her affectations were but skin-deep.
Elliot's affectations that nothing in the world could compare with the delights of dancing--nothing in the world was so tedious as literature.
Love in the romances, also, retains all its courtly affectations, together with that worship of woman by man which in the twelfth century was exalted into a sentimental art by the poets of wealthy and luxurious Provence in Southern France.