October 29, 2021

Dilettante /hɛdənɪst / noun, adj. 

Definition:  Dilettante is a word that refers to a person that cultivates an area of interest, such as art, but does not have a deep understanding of it. A dilettante takes a superficial interest in a subject. The person participates in something for fun during leisure time, instead of doing it professionally.

As a noun, the word describes a person that pretends to be an expert in a particular area despite having minor abilities and knowledge. 

When used as an adjective, the word dilettante is used to show participation at an introductory level. The word denotes having basic knowledge or insufficient expertise.

Etymology: Dilettantes are not masters, but they often enjoy their topic of specialization. One of the earliest ancestors of dilettante is the Italian verb delectare, which means to satisfy the senses, to amuse and delight. 

Delectare inspired the Italian verb for “to delight” and the succeeding Italian noun dilettante, a devotee of the arts. English requisitioned dilettante directly in 1730. Its derogatory association, however, did not appear until later in the century.

In a Sentence

She pursued a dilettante interest in the stuff for a while, but a sure opportunity came in 2006.

Joan brags a lot about the finer features of playing piano, but to hear her play discloses her as nothing but a dilettante.

My brother is no Picasso, but his dilettante painting keeps him happy most of the time.


Dabbler, Layman Amateur, Hobbyist, Nonprofessional, Potterer, Putterer


Professional, Authority, Specialist, Expert


  1. Jane Matiyosus

    Love this word! Btw, I have a few relatives that know EVERYTHING. But they are no more than diletantes.. lol. Thank you for all the words of the day emails.

  2. Colleen

    The far-far-left has a dilettante attitude in what is important to what others think.


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