The book, I am reading provides pretensions meaning as “ snobbish airs”.

what does “snobbish airs” mean? I could not get actual meaning from the net search.

And help with pretensions meanings, if there is any other than “snobbish airs” thanks

these are the details gathered, but without solid answer:

pretensions = the appearance of being more important or more serious than there is reason for; snobbish airs

praetens(latin) = alleged

snob = a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth who seeks to associate with social superiors and looks down on those regarded as socially inferior.

snob (latin) = cobbler cobbler = a person whose job is mending shoes;

let the cobbler stick to his last — people should only concern themselves with things they know something about.

snobbish = relating to, characteristic of, or like a snob;

airs = affected manners intended to impress others

  • What does your dictionary tell you that "snobbish" means? And what do you understand by the word "airs"? When you say "vocabulary section" what do you mean? What does a normal dictionary define "pretentious" as?
    – James K
    May 8, 2021 at 23:02
  • @James K, added what I gathered above. but still, not a single word to remember it easily. affected manners to impress others is the correct meaning?
    – Rachayita
    May 8, 2021 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


As your dictionary says, a "snob" is someone who thinks that they are socially superior (the etymology about cobblers is interesting but not part of the modern meaning)

And "airs" are your style and manners, especially when you act like a snob. Snobbish airs are when you look down on other people because you think they are inferior.

Pretentious is simply "pretending to be higher class" Someone who is pretentious might try to use high class speech. But they usually make some mistake and people can tell that they are only pretending.

So all these words are about pretending to have high social class. And treating other people as inferior when they have low social class.

Do you have social class in your culture? Do people pretend to be high class even though they are not? Those people are pretentious. Do people from high class sometimes treat people from low class badly. Do people treat high class people better than they treat low class people. Then they are snobs.

  • I was associating pretensions with pre + tensions..but you cleared it, associating with pretending, with your vast knowledge, that clears the doubts i had earlier. thanks for an excellent explanation. I am clear now
    – Rachayita
    May 8, 2021 at 23:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .