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Related to affectation: Phonemes


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 ?
Your indifference is half affectation, and a good stirring up would prove it.
I said that you did," answered Jessie, with an affectation of cherubic simplicity.
They had music; Emma was obliged to play; and the thanks and praise which necessarily followed appeared to her an affectation of candour, an air of greatness, meaning only to shew off in higher style her own very superior performance.
Willoughby's behaviour in taking leave of them, his embarrassment,and affectation of cheerfulness, and, above all, his unwillingness to accept her mother's invitation, a backwardness so unlike a lover,so unlike himself, greatly disturbed her.
However, I mentally shake hands with you for your answer, despite its inaccuracy; and as much for the manner in which it was said, as for the substance of the speech; the manner was frank and sincere; one does not often see such a manner: no, on the contrary, affectation, or coldness, or stupid, coarse-minded misapprehension of one's meaning are the usual rewards of candour.
Besides, it's infernal affectation - devilish conceit it is, to cherish our ears - we're asses enough without them.
MY aunt went on with a quiet enjoyment, in which there was very little affectation, if any; drinking the warm ale with a tea-spoon, and soaking her strips of toast in it.
Now, look here," I said with an affectation of gravity, "if you'll tell me how you came by those things, I'll make it worth your while.
I wonder not that the restraint appears to gall you more it were for your honour to have retained the dress and language of an outlaw, than to veil the deeds of one under an affectation of gentle language and demeanour.
Nor indeed can there be a better proof of the insincerity and affectation of some of the zealous adversaries of the plan of the convention among us, who profess to be the devoted admirers of the government under which they live, than the fury with which they have attacked that plan, for matters in regard to which our own constitution is equally or perhaps more vulnerable.
I bet you think I am writing all this from affectation, to be witty at the expense of men of action; and what is more, that from ill-bred affectation, I am clanking a sword like my officer.
Milady changed the conversation without any appearance of affectation, and asked D'Artagnan in the most careless manner possible if he had ever been in England.