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OSTENTATIOUS

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OSTENTATIOUS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:52 pm

• ostentatious •

Pronunciation: ahs-tên-tay-shês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Spectacularly gaudy, pretentious, showy, tastelessly overdone just to attract attention.

Notes: Today's word is the adjective for the noun ostentation. It differs from hype in that it refers to visual overstatement and pretension; that is, it usually refers to show rather than tell. There is an adverb: you may dress or entertain ostentatiously. Do not confuse this word with a related one, ostensible, which means "apparent, seeming".

In Play: Ostentation is luxury overdone: "The hotel we stayed in was luxurious but when they ran strings of tiny lights around everything in the lobby it became outright ostentatious." Don't think, however, that just because this word basically means "showy", that it is limited to sights: "The ostentatious lifestyle of Robin Banks attracted the attention of law enforcement authorities."

Word History: This Good Word comes from Latin ostentatio "a pompous display" from ob- "before" + tendere "to stretch, extend". The original Proto-Indo-European stem that tendere comes from was something like *ten- "stretch", also seen in extend and tension. Tetanus comes from Greek tetanos "stiff, rigid", the state of something stretched. When you stretch a string (which in Greek is tonos), you can produce a tone from it. In Persian, the [n] was replaced by an [r], resulting in tar "string", a word found in the Hindi word sitar, a string instrument of India, often intricately carved and bejeweled ostentatiously.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:04 pm

This Good Word comes from Latin ostentatio "a pompous display" from ob- "before" + tendere "to stretch, extend". The original Proto-Indo-European stem that tendere comes from was something like *ten- "stretch", also seen in extend and tension. Tetanus comes from Greek tetanos "stiff, rigid", the state of something stretched. When you stretch a string (which in Greek is tonos), you can produce a tone from it. In Persian, the [n] was replaced by an [r], resulting in tar "string", a word found in the Hindi word sitar, a string instrument of India, often intricately carved and bejeweled ostentatiously.

Hahaha, sounds like my classes. I never know what prompted me to say the first thing and never know what I'm getting at.

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Postby tcward » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:13 am

And although it looks like an etymological stretch, English guitar is also related to the sitar...

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