noun dil·et·tante \ˈdi-lə-ˌtänt, -ˌtant; ˌdi-lə-ˈ\

: a person whose interest in an art or in an area of knowledge is not very deep or serious

plural dil·et·tantes or dil·et·tan·ti \-ˈtän-tē, -ˈtan-tē\

Full Definition of DILETTANTE

:  an admirer or lover of the arts
:  a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge :  dabbler
dilettante adjective
dil·et·tant·ish \-ˌtän-tish, -ˌtan-, ˌdi-lə-ˈ\ adjective
dil·et·tan·tism \-ˌtän-ˌti-zəm, -ˌtan-, ˌdi-lə-ˈ\ noun

Examples of DILETTANTE

  1. I recently spent a week in Alaska trying to learn how to be a mountaineer. I did not succeed very well, and the details are not very interesting. I finished the course (I was enrolled in a course) thinking that perhaps I am better off remaining a slightly-above-average mountain dilettante. An occasional rock climber. —Jason Lee Steorts, National Review, 18 Aug. 2008


Italian, from present participle of dilettare to delight, from Latin dilectare — more at delight
First Known Use: 1748

Synonym Discussion of DILETTANTE

amateur, dilettante, dabbler, tyro mean a person who follows a pursuit without attaining proficiency or professional status. amateur often applies to one practicing an art without mastery of its essentials <a painting obviously done by an amateur>; in sports it may also suggest not so much lack of skill but avoidance of direct remuneration <remained an amateur despite lucrative offers>. dilettante may apply to the lover of an art rather than its skilled practitioner but usually implies elegant trifling in the arts and an absence of serious commitment <had no patience for dilettantes>. dabbler suggests desultory habits of work and lack of persistence <a dabbler who started novels but never finished them>. tyro implies inexperience often combined with audacity with resulting crudeness or blundering <shows talent but is still a mere tyro>.

Other Fine Arts Terms

Gothic, baroque, bas-relief, limn, oeuvre, pastiche, rococo, sfumato


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