From 1700s Italy, "dilettante" originally meant "lover of the arts," but became a pejorative when professionalism took hold during the 18th century. A dilettante became a mere lover of art as opposed to one who earned a living from it. Today, the word refers to a poseur, or one pretending to be an artist.
synonyms: dabbler, sciolist, dilettanteish, dilettantish, sciolistic
“It’s better up here away from the phonies and the dilettantes. Here I can do what I want and no one comes to sneer. You’re not a sneerer, are you?”
- Flowers for Algernon
‘There were no scientists in Stuart England,’ we are told, ‘and all the men we have grouped together under that heading were in their varying degrees dilettantes.’
- The Invention of Science
Charles wasn’t a dilettante; he was serious about the breeding and created his own new lines of pigeons.
- Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith
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