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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).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



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)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


Artificial behavior adopted to impress others:
affectedness, air (used in plural), mannerism, pose, pretense.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˌæfekˈteɪʃən] Nafectación f, falta f de naturalidad affectationsafectación fsing
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌæfɛkˈteɪʃən] naffectation f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= pretence)Vortäuschung f, → Vorgabe f
(= artificiality)Affektiertheit f no pl; her affectations annoy meihr affektiertes Benehmen ärgert mich; an affectationeine affektierte Angewohnheit
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌæfɛkˈteɪʃn] naffettazione f affectations nplmodi mpl affettati, leziosaggini fpl
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


n. artificio, afectación.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
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.
Since then we propose to inquire what civil society is of all others best for those who have it in their power to live entirely as they wish, it is necessary to examine into the polity of those states which are allowed to be well governed; and if there should be any others which some persons have described, and which appear properly regulated, to note what is right and useful in them; and when we point out wherein they have failed, let not this be imputed to an affectation of wisdom, for it is because there are great defects in all those which are already 'established, that I have been induced to undertake this work.
"I suspect," said Elinor, "that to avoid one kind of affectation, Edward here falls into another.
Besides this the general opinion of all who had known him previously was that he had greatly improved during these last five years, having softened and grown more manly, lost his former affectation, pride, and contemptuous irony, and acquired the serenity that comes with years.
But the "cast-anchor" trick, with its affectation of being a sea-phrase - for why not write just as well "threw anchor," "flung anchor," or 'shied anchor"?
Artlessness will never do in love matters; and that girl is born a simpleton who has it either by nature or affectation. I am not yet certain that Reginald sees what she is about, nor is it of much consequence.
A man's nature is best perceived in privateness, for there is no affectation; in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth him.
"I think it's affectation to compare the Oder to music, and so do you, but the overhanging warehouses of Stettin take beauty seriously, which we don't, and the average Englishman doesn't, and despises all who do.
In fact, I believe that the preference for the literature of the past, except in the case of the greatest masters, is mainly the affectation of people who cannot otherwise distinguish themselves from the herd, and who wish very much to do so.
In like manner, we shall represent human nature at first to the keen appetite of our reader, in that more plain and simple manner in which it is found in the country, and shall hereafter hash and ragoo it with all the high French and Italian seasoning of affectation and vice which courts and cities afford.
"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.
Affectation of candour is common enough-- one meets with it everywhere.