Definition

A dilettante is a person who cultivates an interest in the arts, especially the fine arts, but has little to no commitment or expertise in a specific field.

Pronunciation

US English

UK English

Part of speech

Noun

Synonyms

amateur, dabbler, nonprofessional, layperson, amateurish, superficial, unskilled, inexpert, untrained.

Antonyms

Professional, expert, specialist, connoisseur, authority, competent.

Example sentences

  • Even though she claimed to be an expert in many fields, her lack of depth revealed her as a dilettante.
  • Jack’s interest in painting was just that of a dilettante, he only grazed the surface of each new medium.
  • After trying several hobbies, Rachel realized that she was a dilettante, always searching for novelty and never committing.
  • Though John enjoyed attending concerts, he was a true dilettante when it came to classical music, having only a superficial knowledge and no real experience.

Usage

Dilettante is a noun that describes someone who has a general interest in a subject or activity, but lacks the depth of knowledge or skill to be considered an expert. The term is often used in a negative context to describe a person who is seen as superficial or pretentious, trying to demonstrate knowledge or skill where he or she has none. Often, a dilettante will pretend to be more knowledgeable or experienced than he or she actually is, which can be frustrating to those who have spent years studying or honing their craft.

The term “dilettante” is derived from the Italian word “diletto,” meaning delight or pleasure. The word is sometimes used in conjunction with the phrase “dilettanteism,” which refers to the act of dabbling in a subject without real commitment or effort. A related term is “amateur,” which literally means “lover of,” and can denote a high degree of interest or enthusiasm for a subject, although it does not necessarily imply amateurishness.

One variation of the word is “dilettantish,” which describes a trait or behavior that is typical of a dilettante. The suffix “-ish” is used to indicate a quality that resembles or is characteristic of something, without necessarily being the real thing. Another variation is “dilettantism,” which is synonymous with dilettanteism, and some might use it to describe the same thing.

In general, it is important to be aware of the nuances of the term “dilettante,” as it can be perceived as though it carries negative connotations. While it is true that a dilettante is someone who is not an expert, it is not necessarily derogatory, and many people may enjoy pursuing hobbies or interests without necessarily becoming an expert in the field