Originated 1425–75 from late Middle English ostentacioun, borrowed from Middle French ostentation, from Latin ostentātiō, ostentātiōnem, equivalent to ostentātus (past participle of ostentāre, to display or exhibit), frequentative of ostendere (“to present, display”) + -iōn.
- Ambitious display; vain show; display intended to excite admiration or applause.
- 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. […], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, […], OCLC 21345056, pages 24–25:
- Sir Henry had consumed his substance in ostentation and riotous hospitality—had fed many at his board, made many merry in his halls, but not a friend was in his house of mourning; the very retainers who had grown rich upon his ruin, seemed to deem the burial of their master but a signal for carousing and license.
- (obsolete) A show or spectacle.
- 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
- Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it that she is dead indeed:
Maintain a mourning ostentation;
- ostentation in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- ostentation in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- “ostentation”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, →ISBN.
- “ostentation”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
- "ostentation" in WordNet 2.0, Princeton University, 2003.
ostentation f (plural ostentations)