0

I couldn't find it in any dictionary. Google News didn't help me. 'Make air' (by analogy with 'make an impression') would sound comical. 'Have' doesn't have the meaning I seek to convey. So what verb to use with 'respectable/pompous etc air'?

6
  • 1
    It's usually just have a respectable air. If you want a more "active" verb, perhaps present / adopt / assume / give out/off an air of respectability. Or even exude. Dec 6 '19 at 13:54
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Why 'have a respectable air' but not 'give out a respectable air'? Dec 6 '19 at 13:56
  • Oxford Dictionaries say that you can 'emanate an [adjective] air' (which surprised me, as I've always associated emanate with something like warmth or a smell). Dec 6 '19 at 17:04
  • I agree with Fumble Fingers: has a respectable air. The problem with give off is that it is associated with odors, usually unpleasant. . So, if you "give off a respectable air", that could be rather sarcastic.
    – Lambie
    Dec 6 '19 at 20:26
  • Does the Lexico entry justify my word choice? Dec 7 '19 at 2:43
2

A casual phrasing:

He gives off an air of confidence

Something fancier:

He exudes an air of confidence

 

Something I think is worth mentioning is that I'm not sure the whole "air of" phrasing works well with "respect". To say someone gives off/exudes an "air of respect" or a "respectable air" sounds more like a weird way of saying that someone is very respectful. But I'm guessing you mean that the person has a sort of aura about them that makes everyone else respect them. In that case you can say:

He commands respect

To "command" respect implies that you comport yourself in such a way that others feel compelled to treat you with respect, as opposed to just insisting that everyone respect you automatically ("demand respect").

3
  • gives off is like a smell, in my view.
    – Lambie
    Dec 6 '19 at 20:29
  • 1) What about my suggestions? 2) Why can't I use an adjective? Dec 7 '19 at 2:41
  • @SergeyZolotarev 1a.) I don't think "give out" works because that suggests actively handing something out, but air, especially in this metaphorical sense, isn't tangible like that. The air comes from the person passively; the person doesn't actively give it out. 1b.) Merriam Webster says emanate could work, though for me personally it sounds weird. I don't hear the transitive use of emanate very often. 2.) You can use an adjective, but my instinct is that "air of ____" is the more common construction than "____-able air".
    – cjl750
    Dec 7 '19 at 23:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.