from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A mannerism or habit that is assumed rather than natural, especially to impress others.
  • noun Behavior characterized by such mannerisms or habits; artificiality.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Strenuous pursuit or desire; earnest quest; a striving in the direction (of).
  • noun A striving for the appearance (of); pretense of the possession or character (of); effort for the reputation (of): as, an affectation of wit or of virtue; affectation of great wealth.
  • noun A striving for effect; artificiality of manner or conduct; effort to attract notice by pretense, assumption, or any peculiarity: as, his affectations are insufferable.
  • noun Affection; fondness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An attempt to assume or exhibit what is not natural or real; false display; artificial show.
  • noun obsolete A striving after.
  • noun obsolete Fondness; affection.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An attempt to assume or exhibit what is not natural or real; false display; artificial show.
  • noun An unusual mannerism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a deliberate pretense or exaggerated display


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin affectātiō, affectātiōn-, from affectātus, past participle of affectāre, to strive after; see affect.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested in 1548. From Latin affectātiōnem (possibly via French affectation), from affectō ("I feign").


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  • Mr. Moncton laughed at what he termed my affectation of moral integrity, and tried by every art to seduce me to join in amusements, and visit scenes, from which my mind revolted; and his own example served to strengthen my disgust.

    The Monctons: A Novel, Volume I Susanna Moodie 1844

  • (a sentence to which Scott's description of him as “a man of great genius” may be successfully opposed); and is especially severe on what he terms his affectation in disclaiming the compliments bestowed on his learning by some of his friends.

    Letters of Horace Walpole 01 Walpole, Horace 1890

  • I think a lot of characters start in affectation and then build from there.

    Collecting characters 2007

  • And I have no idea how his literary affectation translates into “journalism” of any sort.

    Taking the pajamas off « BuzzMachine 2005

  • Now, it’s cute that Miley shows up in a cravat and acts like he’s the offspring of AA Gill and Boris Johnson, but affectation is wearying.

    Matthew Yglesias » How Not to Save The New York Times 2009

  • I come, now, to the silence of affectation, which is presently discernible by the roving of the eye round the room to see if it is heeded, by the sedulous care to avoid an accidental smile, and by the variety of disconsolate attitudes exhibited to the beholders.

    Cecilia 2008

  • Well, you have a list of stuff earlier than that, but it was that -- I just wanted to ask you, when people write you and talk about the tilt and your presence on the set or your so-called affectation of a British accent, do you know that that's the way you look to people on the outside?

    Happy Days Were Here Again: Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist 1993

  • I do not think it is uniformly conspicuous [Y] for quaintness, or that there is much that can be called affectation; though occasionally an excess of brevity has proved too tempting, or the desire to individualize runs away with him.

    Microcosmography or, a Piece of the World Discovered; in Essays and Characters John Earle

  • You resent, it seems, what you are pleased to term my affectation of intimacy, and you beg for a style of greater respect in any future communications.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, October 17, 1891 Various

  • Simplicity he holds to be "our barrier against that great enemy to truth and nature, affectation, which is ever clinging to the pencil, and ready to drop and poison every thing it touches."

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 53, No. 328, February, 1843 Various


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