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A person prone to become mildly involved with or superficially interested in various subjects instead of developing any specific skill or knowledge to its fullest. Often used to describe amateur or wanna-be artists.
John, a dilettante who played seven muscial instruments, couldn't get a spot in the school band because he didn't play any single instrument well.
by Luke August 23, 2004
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Person who who relentlessly fails to figure out what they “want to do with their life” and thus flits from interest to interest like a hummingbird among lilies. Often well-meaning, empathetic, and creative, the dilettante shoots him/herself in the foot over and over again by forsaking specific skills and knowledge and starting from scratch.

Traditionally, only royalty and aristocrats could play at dilettantism, but the type has proliferated since since mid-century prosperity in North America, Europe, and elsewhere has expanded the middle- and, especially, upper-middle class. The dilettante has reached its apotheosis in contemporary millennials, especially college-educated ones. They tend to feel alienated by corporate culture and spurned by the economic crisis, and postpone taking on family responsibility, which usually ends dilettantism, until later than previous generations.

The dilettante is an easy target for scorn, but essentially tragic, often overwrought, full of angst, sometimes tormented by the “grass is greener” fantasy. Most dilettantes eventually grow out of their dilettantism—making it a phase disease—and settle into something that provides constancy and direction to their lives.
Jenna: So, what do you do?
Dillon: Well, I studied business. Then I worked at a bank. But I hated it. So I traveled around the world for a while. Then I worked on an organic farm, in Montana, where I took up landscape painting. But somehow I still felt incomplete, so I moved to the city and I'm thinking about next steps.
Jenna: Wow, that's a lot...
Dillon: Yeah, I'm such a dilettante.
by gallimaufabout August 04, 2016
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