thinking highly of themselves

Discussion in 'English Only' started by epistolario, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. epistolario

    epistolario Senior Member

    I used to think that people who think highly of their abilities are labeled presumptuous but when I looked it up in the dictionary, I was wrong. So, what is the proper term (formal and informal) for those who:

    a) think that they are intelligent when they're just average in class?
    b) think that they have a beautiful voice when it's not?
    c) think that they are good at doing something (arts, drawing, painting) when they're not?

  2. savannah Senior Member

    English, USA
    One way of saying it--which has a slightly casual or familiar feeling to me, for some reason--would be to call someone "delusional." In other words, such a person is delusing himself about his lack of talent or ability etc.

    Another idiomatic (and slightly old-fashioned) way of saying it:
    "Jack has delusions of grandeur!" That is, Jack has fooled himself into thinking he has grand talents, grand acomplishments, etc. but in reality he does not,

    And you right, "Presumptious" doesn't *quite* catch that meaning.
  3. MissFit

    MissFit Senior Member

    I would say that they are deluded, or that they are "suffering from delusions of grandeur."
  4. Danc Senior Member

    Niort, France
    English (European)
    "big headed" ?
  5. Shauneyzboyz

    Shauneyzboyz Senior Member

    Albany, NY
    I like:

    pre·ten·tious (prĭ-těn'shəs)
    1. Claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.
  6. epistolario

    epistolario Senior Member

    Thanks for the reply. But according to my Oxford dictionary, pretentious is:

    attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture,
    etc., than is actually possessed.

    In the context of my example, they are not attempting to impress. Rather, they are thinking and are saying that they have the ability when they do not have it. They have only made themselves to believe so.

    Also, delusions of grandeur sounds literary. Can you also use that in colloquial conversations?
  7. Shauneyzboyz

    Shauneyzboyz Senior Member

    Albany, NY
    When I think of trying to impress someone when lacking skill, I think of ostentatious, while pretentious is the notion that one feels when they feel or know that they are greater than they actually are.

    Pretentious can be tricky in that the definition links it to ostentatious, which can cause confusion if the reader has yet to learn either of these words.

    The only other one I can think of, and it may be a stretch, is quixotic. In direct relation to Don Quixote (the idealistic character in a Cervantes novel), the word suggests some sort of idealism that lacks rationale or practicality.
  8. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Perhaps such a person is simply unrealistic.
  9. Thomsen Senior Member

    Washington, D.C.
    English USA
    It is presumptious for one to think something of someone else not themselves. I would say that thinking highly of oneself would be pompous perhaps?
  10. shinigamijin New Member

    Einglish - American
    I find "delusions of grandeur" to be fine to use in conversation; although, most commonly, I don't tell someone, "You have delusions of grandeur," I use it in reference to that person, "Roman Belic has delusions of grandeur." When I want to tell someone that they are not as good as they think, say, and insist they are at something or everything, I tell them that they are conceited.
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  11. litcrazed New Member

    Simple words that can be used in everyday conversations without sounding too 'pretentious' are conceited, vain, or more informally stuck-up, snooty and snotty. They're all adjectives describing someone who thinks they're better than they're actually are. Being presumptuous is closer to being rude.

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