I was reading a book has an interesting discussion over this word- Jejune. It says that the word has taken a new meaning recently which has no connection to its roots. It says that "jejune" comes from Latin and basically means "dry" or "barren". Hence, it's wrong to use that word to describe a thing or person as childish or naive. However, I checked this word in the dictionaries and all of them has included this definition.

Now, my question is it pompous or pretentious to use "jejune", these days, to mean "uninteresting"? Or does it sound archaic? For instance,

The lecturer's present was insipid, jejune, and long-winded!

Checking the Ngram, I found that it was much more popular in the past, in general.

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  • 1
    Stephen Dedalus is called "the jejune Jesuit" in Joyce's Ulysses. The word is not in the working vocabulary of 99 44/100% of the population of native speakers of English.
    – TimR
    May 14, 2017 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


What can be considered pompous or pretentious can vary a lot depending on who's reading it or hearing it and in what context. For some any word with over 4 syllables counts and for others nothing is too showy. Given these factors, it's hard to say without knowing your audience.

However, speaking as a twenty-something who feels he has a good vocabulary and awareness for words in general, I had to look up jejune as I had never seen the word until your question. It's definitely the kind of word that I believe evokes that pretentious feeling out of people, even those who are aware of its meaning. As always with things in English, it heavily depends on context, but that'd be the kind of word that would give me a pretentious feeling about someone, unless I already knew them to be particularly verbose.

  • 1
    Thanks, I wanted to use that word in written English. I agree with you that this word may sound showy itself. It was an interesting discussion over this word that led me to know more about it.
    – Cardinal
    May 14, 2017 at 9:09

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