Top definition
To use "big words" to make yourself sound smarter than you actually are.
Oddly enough, the word "pretentious" sounds pretentious.
by The Guy of Enlightenment August 20, 2016
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2
Trying to sound intelligent by using long, complicated words, even though you don't know what they mean.
Pete: "hey, listen to this. it's post-hardcore emomathglitch rock. The lyrics really reveal the prerequisite existentialism of the singers inner hades!"

Ed: "do you even know what that means"

Pete: "um... well, no"

Ed: "you're so pretentious"
by intheflesh December 09, 2005
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3
The most ironic word in the history of language.
Asshole 1: "So prior to meeting you at this location, I was involved in an altercation of the sexual kind with my girlfriend, it was tremendously refreshing and pleasing to certain glands within my physical being."
Asshole 2: "You're being pretentious"
Asshole 3: "Pot and kettle"
by Thedefineguy1 January 04, 2012
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4
Aren't we all pretentious? Don't we all have some picture in our minds of ourselves that we aspire towards? Is that such a bad thing? We're all pretending, all the time. Idiots toss this word around not knowing what they really mean by it in my experience...they would probably say this definition is pretentious.
person A "we go to such an such cafe for coffee"

person B "really? I hate it there, everyone is so pretentious"

person A "really? Even the middle aged people and young mothers with children? What are they pretending to be? Are they pretending to drink coffee? Is it pretend coffee in an empty cup? How could a business run on that principal?"
by apretentiousperson May 25, 2012
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5
To be pretentious is to make a claim or put on an act to:

A) Fit into a group.

B) Appear "better" than you are or than others.

Pretentious people often fit into 2 groups:

i) Stupid pretentious people who no nothing of the subject they are acting pretentious about.

ii) Clever pretentious people who know about the subject they are acting pretentious about but think this makes them better.
a) Look I have the same boots as you now! That makes me a true Punk/Goth/Rocker/insert generic group name.

b) You didn't like my poem? Well you probably didn't understand it. It was very deep.

i) I am a goth I love HIM.

ii) I have a degree in Philosophy...I therefore know a little more about theology than you could.

Another Example: My definition of "pretentious" is much better than the others on this site because I have an A in English.

Pretentious people often have no sense of humour and never laugh at themselves.
by Mike December 19, 2005
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6
Behaving in an attention-seeking manner via presenting oneself on the surface as being intelligent, provocative, important, avant-garde, humorous or significant, yet harboring ulterior motives, typically involving some form of personal gratification or material gain (e.g. advancement in social status, career, wealth, etc.).

Note that using this word is often conflated to be a pretentious act in and of itself, as this word is frequently used as a way to easily discredit people, works of art, ideas or statements while simultaneously boosting one's own status.
"I used to think they were a smart, edgy, fun group of people to hang out with... but as soon as they realized I didn't have anything to offer them in terms of getting more publicity or a book deal or an art gallery gig, they stopped talking to me. I don't even know why I try to be their friend anymore! Pretentious twits."

- - -

Dude #1: "I really like the Three Stooges!"
Dude #2: "Whatever, they're so pretentious."
Dude #1: "Do you even know what that word means?"
by Buster Foodcube December 10, 2011
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7
Definitely two meanings, and they really depend on the attitudes of the user, and what the user thinks is fake or real. So:

A) "Pretentious" can be a useful phrase to describe something that is fake or pretend, or somebody who is pretending in order to conform. Sometimes it is still used that way.

B) Its meaning has also become completely the opposite. In the English-speaking world, "pretentious" has become a catch-all phrase to criticize anything or anyone that is vaguely heartfelt, intellectual, earnest, sincere, artistic, unconventional, nonconformist, non-commercial, or not on TV, on Youtube or in the supermarket.
Take your pick:

A) The blonde in American Beauty, Angela Hayes, lied about having lost her virginity and being sex-mad. In fact, she was an insecure virgin, and worried about what people would think of her. So she pretended to be a slut. She was pretentious.

B) The lonely boy in American Beauty, Ricky Fitts, who thought the plastic bag in the wind was beautiful couldn't really have thought that, he just wanted to be different from other people, and was pretending to be deep. He was pretentious.
by khcvb June 07, 2010
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