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Dilettante

noun
(pl. dilettanti)
1.
An amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge.  Synonyms: dabbler, sciolist.






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"Dilettante" Quotes from Famous Books



... Theresa availed but little. The population, chiefly and traditionally Protestant, probably sympathized with Prussia more than with Austria, although the Elector himself was Catholic,—that inglorious monarch who resembled in his gallantries Louis XV., and in his dilettante tastes Leo X. He is chiefly known for the number of his concubines and his ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume VIII • John Lord

... murmured Straws. "Discerning Tortier! Excellent dilettante! Let him henceforth be known as a man of taste!" Here the poet critically examined the bottle. "Nothing vapid, thin or characterless there!" he added, holding it before the blaze in the grate. "Positively I'll dedicate my forthcoming book to him. 'To that worshipful master and patron, ...
— The Strollers • Frederic S. Isham

... Reggie went away, walking very delicately, with his head drooping towards his left shoulder, and his hands dangling in a dilettante manner at his sides, Madame Valtesi appeared at the French window of the drawing-room, refusing to join Tommy in some boyish game. After a parleying, which she conducted in profile, she turned her ...
— The Green Carnation • Robert Smythe Hichens

... joining a Labour Union. He finally came to the conclusion that this was but another instance of an "Intellectual" studying the social and economic side of Industry from first-hand observation. It was a common enough thing in the Old Land. He was conscious of a little contempt for this dilettante sort of Labour Unionism, and he was further conscious of a feeling of impatience and embarrassment at Captain Jack's presence. He belonged to the enemy camp, and what right had he there? From looks cast in their direction it was plain that others were asking the same ...
— To Him That Hath - A Novel Of The West Of Today • Ralph Connor

... was vaguely hinted that, to reward me, certain afternoon-parties were to be got up; and then, when I had got out of Merlin-land, and assured myself I was human by eating lunch, I was to meet a goodly company of distinguished folk—great poets, and one or two more mystic painters, a dilettante duke, and the nameless crowd of worshippers who would come to sit at the feet of all these, and sigh adoringly, and shake their heads over the Philistinism of English society. I don't care for ugly mediaeval ...
— Macleod of Dare • William Black

... of the old world awakening to spiritual life. Modern people have repeated the words more than enough, but by translating them too literally—"I loved to love"—they have perhaps distorted the sense. They have made Augustin a kind of Romantic like Alfred de Musset, a dilettante in love. Augustin is not so modern, although he often seems one of ourselves. When he wrote those words he was a bishop and a penitent. What strikes him above all in looking back upon his uneasy and feverish life ...
— Saint Augustin • Louis Bertrand

... by 'dilettante' methods, but demands a mind spurred by ambition or the satisfaction ...
— Scott's Last Expedition Volume I • Captain R. F. Scott

... as an instance of some incorrigible twist in Mr Arnold's French estimates, of some inability to admire the right things, even when he did admire I cannot agree with them. Joubert, of course, has his own shortcomings as a pensee-writer. He is rococo beside La Bruyere, dilettante beside La Rochefoucauld, shallow beside Pascal. There is at times, even if you take him by himself, and without comparison, something thin and amateurish and conventional about him. But this is by no means always or very often the case; and his merits, very great in themselves, ...
— Matthew Arnold • George Saintsbury

... room was her bugbear. She had dignified it with the name of "studio," but it looked what it was—a workshop. Winslow Whitney, considered in clubdom as a dilettante and known to scientists as an inventor of ability, frowned impatiently as he observed his wife's ...
— I Spy • Natalie Sumner Lincoln

... pictorial exponents were Scots by birth, but they had lived so long abroad that Scotland had become to them little more than a memory. The work of the former was in many ways an embodiment of the current dilettante conception of art, and kindred in kind, though earlier in date, to that of Jacques Louis David (1748-1825) under whose sway, towards the close of the century, classic ideals came to dominate the art of Europe outside ...
— Raeburn • James L. Caw

... specially written and prepared to assist people out of the very difficulty into which we had fallen—a book carefully compiled with the express object of enabling English travellers who, like ourselves, only spoke German in a dilettante fashion, to make their modest requirements known throughout the Fatherland, and to get out of the ...
— Diary of a Pilgrimage • Jerome K. Jerome

... I determined that he should never know the truth. He could go back to South America and build bridges and make love to the Spanish girls (or are they Spanish down there?) and think of me always as a married woman, married to a dilettante artist, inclined to be stout—the artist, not I—and with an Aunt Selina Caruthers who made buttons and believed in the Cause. But never, NEVER should he think of me as a silly little fool who pretended that she was ...
— When a Man Marries • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... "art did not satisfy her, did not fill the void of her life. Genuine artists exist only for art, for the theatre.... Everything else pales before that which they regard as their vocation.... She was a dilettante!" ...
— A Reckless Character - And Other Stories • Ivan Turgenev

... library is the room at the right of the door upon entering the house. It is a simple square room, not walled with books like the den of a literary grub, nor merely elegant like the ornamental retreat of a dilettante. The books are arranged upon plain shelves, not in architectural bookcases, and the room is hung with a few choice engravings of the greatest men. There was a fair copy of Michael Angelo's "Fates", which, properly enough, ...
— Literary and Social Essays • George William Curtis

... less picturesque records which some of our own young officers have produced, as extraordinarily "grown up." The new generation which France sent into the war of defence was more simple and more ardent at the outset than our own analogous generation was. It was less dilettante and more intellectual. The evidences of thought, of reasoned reflection carried out to its full extent, of an adequate realization of the problems presented by life, are manifest, though in various degree, in all these ...
— Three French Moralists and The Gallantry of France • Edmund Gosse

... phrases of dialect interestingly allied to pure Anglo-Saxon. When this last occurred, he entered them in a notebook he kept in his library. He sometimes pretended to himself that he was going to write a book on dialects; but he knew that he was a dilettante sort of creature and would really never do it. The pretense, however, was a sort of asset. In dire moments during rains or foggy weather when he felt twinges and had read till his head ached, he had wished that he had not eaten all ...
— T. Tembarom • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... congenial atmosphere around him, expanded to a gayety, a magnetic boyishness, that fascinated as much as it amazed the four who knew him as no others could; and sent Avelallement, a wealthy German dilettante, whose acquaintance with the famous Russian consisted of a long correspondence and a fanatical admiration of his work, back to his native Hamburg determined on bringing Ivan to Germany, in order that the most sentimental, hospitable and musical race in the world might come to know, as he ...
— The Genius • Margaret Horton Potter

... a copy, for his own behoof and that of Lakeland: if he keep his word as to me, he may do as much for you, or more. Copies are at Cambridge; among the Oxonians too; I have with stingy discretion distributed all my copies but two. Old Rogers, a grim old Dilettante, full of sardonic sense, was heard saying, "It is German Poetry given out in American Prose." Friend Emerson ought to be content;—and has now above all things, as I said, to be in no haste. Slow fire ...
— The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, - 1834-1872, Vol. I • Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson

... the Dilettante stalks abroad. The Amateur is loosed. The voice of the Aesthete is heard in the land, and catastrophe ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 6 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists • Elbert Hubbard

... and Bacon had done it. By Bacon he had justified to himself,—or rather had failed to justify to himself,—a seclusion from his family and from the world which had been intended for strenuous work, but had been devoted to dilettante idleness. And he had fallen into those mistakes which such habits and such pursuits are sure to engender. He thought much, but he thought nothing out, and was consequently at sixty still in doubt ...
— Ralph the Heir • Anthony Trollope

... let us say that the mere dilettante and the amateur ruralist may as well keep their hands off. The prize is not for them. He who would successfully strive for it must be himself what he sings,—part and parcel of the rural life of New England,—one who has grown strong amidst its healthful influences, familiar ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... Of course; you or your father said you had been his pupil. H'm. Praed. Yes, I visualize him. Rather a dilettante—whimsical—I didn't like what I heard of him at one time. However it's no affair of mine. And Honoria Fraser! She's simply one of the best women I know. It's curious she wasn't here—At least I didn't see her—this afternoon. She's a friend of my wife's. ...
— Mrs. Warren's Daughter - A Story of the Woman's Movement • Sir Harry Johnston

... is the tramp?" Who is the walking person seen from the vantage ground of these pages? He is necessarily a masked figure; he wears the disguise of one who has escaped, and also of one who is a conspirator. He is not the dilettante literary person gone tramping, nor the pauper vagabond who writes sonnets, though either of these roles may be part of his disguise. He is not merely something negligible or accidental or ornamental, he is something ...
— A Tramp's Sketches • Stephen Graham

... sympathy nor scorn, for his mood led him to indulge in both, "you asked me why I remained out of the strife of the world, and looked on at the great labour of my neighbour without taking any part in the struggle? Why, what a mere dilettante you own yourself to be, in this confession of general scepticism, and what a listless spectator yourself! You are six-and-twenty years old; and as blase as a rake of sixty. You neither hope much nor care much, nor believe much. You doubt about other men as much as about yourself. ...
— The History of Pendennis • William Makepeace Thackeray

... The Minister-Prince complimented her graciously; he was a dilettante, who could express himself most charmingly, in well chosen, ...
— The Idol of Paris • Sarah Bernhardt

... then," exclaimed he, "you are but a dilettante! Assassination in the abstract is well enough, but you have a disposition to shirk practical examples. I ...
— Ashton-Kirk, Investigator • John T. McIntyre

... first century Athens was neither the fascinating capital of the time of Cicero, nor of the age of Chrysostom. Its temples and statues remained intact, but its schools could not then boast of a single man of genius. There remained only dilettante philosophers, rhetoricians, grammarians, pedagogues, and pedants, puffed up with conceit and arrogance, with very few real inquirers after truth, such as marked the times of Socrates and Plato. Paul, like Luther, cared nothing for art; and the thousands of statues which ornamented every part of ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume II • John Lord

... to recommence;—the play Will be the last of seven, and spick-span new—' 'Tis usual here that number to present. A dilettante did the piece invent, And dilettanti will enact it too. Excuse me, gentlemen; to me's assign'd As ...
— Faust Part 1 • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

... instance of this nearness of the boy to the surface in him displayed itself one grey east-windy afternoon at Leven, when one saw quite another side to him than the literary and dilettante one displayed, with something of a mannered affectation, the day before in 'The Turret' drawing-room. He had walked down to the sands with his aunt and there were assembled various younger members of the Balfour clique, ...
— Robert Louis Stevenson • Margaret Moyes Black

... origin this for such a society, and the fruits will be without flavor. Art will not submit to be so lowered," will say some travelled dilettante, who, with book in hand, has looked by rote on the wonders of the Louvre and the Vatican; but the Creator of the universe teaches a different lesson from this observer. Not the rare lightning merely, but the daily sunlight, too; not merely the distant star-studded canopy of the earth, ...
— Essays AEsthetical • George Calvert

... parting of the ways. She saw that her life was becoming an empty husk. I think the theater was palling on her. But I see now that she still cherished the dream of winning the man she loved—not me, her husband, but that handsome dilettante, Grant. I take it, therefore, that she went to Steynholme to determine whether or not the glamour of the past was really dead. Unfortunately, she witnessed certain idyllic passages between her one-time lover and a charming village girl. Imagine the effect of this discovery on one of the artistic ...
— The Postmaster's Daughter • Louis Tracy

... place at the time of the Restoration, burst on the servants of the Company. The humane man was horror-struck at the way in which they had got their money, the thrifty man at the way in which they spent it. The Dilettante sneered at their want of taste. The Maccaroni black-balled them as vulgar fellows. Writers the most unlike in sentiment and style, Methodists and libertines, philosophers and buffoons, were for once on the same side. It is hardly too much ...
— Critical and Historical Essays Volume 1 • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... with remorse at not having saved the soul so weak of that defenseless child. Ah, I do not mince the truth to myself, and I shall not do so to you. You remember the morning when you were so gay, and when you gave me the theory of your cosmopolitanism? It amused you, as a perfect dilettante, so you said, to assist in one of those dramas of race which bring into play the personages from all points of the earth and of history, and you then traced to me a programme very true, my faith, and which events have almost brought about. Madame Steno has indeed conducted ...
— Cosmopolis, Complete • Paul Bourget

... new performance—'tis the last of seven. To give that number is the custom here: 'Twas by a Dilettante written, And Dilettanti in the parts appear. That now I vanish, pardon, I entreat you! As Dilettante ...
— Faust • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

... live a very short time. We live only one life. Only certain things are possible to us. The man who tries to crowd everything into that life fails. He is a dilettante. He may find pleasure but he reaches no end. He strikes no long sustained note. In the eyes of those who come after him, ...
— The Mischief Maker • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... accuracy of ancient verses, shrivelled the modern poet's ardent humour. Was this an example of the intellectual enlightenment awaiting him, he had so fondly hoped, in Athens? With apprehension he remembered what his father's friend, a rich dilettante, one of the best liked men in Rome, had written him when he sent him the letter ...
— Roads from Rome • Anne C. E. Allinson

... other neighbouring countries with an originally strongly Slav population of displaying a birch-tree at the beginning of May. The learned will then dive down into Slavonic mythology, which process to the dilettante in such matters, is like "going in off the deep end"—you never know when or where ...
— From a Terrace in Prague • Lieut.-Col. B. Granville Baker

... like the dilettante and unstable dog he was, gave it up, and sauntered off to scratch at a rabbit-hole with an insufferable air of suggesting that that was what he had come out for all the time. I continued to pound along doggedly. I was grimly resolute. ...
— Love Among the Chickens • P. G. Wodehouse

... the Rune poem some air of antiquity that it runs in the old Futhorc order. And, indeed, some of the versicles may perhaps be ancient; that is, they may possibly date from a time when Runes were still in practical use. But certainly much of this chaplet of versicles must be regarded as late and dilettante work. The Rune names are not all clearly authentic; for example, "Eoh" is rather dubious; but the poet treats the name as meaning Yew, and gives us an interesting little epigram ...
— Anglo-Saxon Literature • John Earle

... Daigo died and was succeeded by his son Shujaku, a child of eight, whose mother was a daughter of Fujiwara Mototsune. In accordance with the system now fully established, Fujiwara Tadahira became regent. History depicts this Tadahira as an effeminate dilettante, one of whose foibles was to have a cuckoo painted on his fan and to imitate the cry of the bird whenever he opened it. But as representative of the chief aristocratic family in an age when to be a Fujiwara was to possess a title superior to that conferred by ability in any form and however conspicuous, ...
— A History of the Japanese People - From the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era • Frank Brinkley and Dairoku Kikuchi

... important a part in the life and luxury of those far-away centuries for its production to be allowed to languish. The magnificence of every great man, whether pope, king or dilettante, was ill-expressed before his fellows if he were not constantly surrounded by the storied cloths that were the indispensable accessories of wealth and glory. Palaces and castles were hung with them, the tents of military encampments were made gorgeous with their richness, and no ...
— The Tapestry Book • Helen Churchill Candee

... lay there thinking, I naturally dwelt upon myself and my situation. It was unparalleled, undreamed-of, that I, Humphrey Van Weyden, a scholar and a dilettante, if you please, in things artistic and literary, should be lying here on a Bering Sea seal-hunting schooner. Cabin-boy! I had never done any hard manual labour, or scullion labour, in my life. I had lived a placid, uneventful, sedentary existence all my days—the life ...
— The Sea-Wolf • Jack London

... will ever come here to study them. It is five hundred miles from the railroad. Therefore, I shall never have to endure the praises of the dilettante, the patronage of the idler, the vapid rhapsodies of the vulgar. Only those who understand will care to ...
— Police!!! • Robert W. Chambers

... this amazing document I lit my pipe and set to work to think it over. The hypothetical inquirer might ask why I thought it amazing. There was nothing odd in a dilettante Englishman of highly cultivated mind taking to Egyptology and, being, as it chanced, one of the richest men in the kingdom, spending a fraction of his wealth in excavating temples. Nor was it strange that he should have happened to die by accident when ...
— The Ancient Allan • H. Rider Haggard

... became counsel for the Crescent Gas and Electric Company, in which he had shrewdly gained a controlling interest. Even toward the colossal game of modern finance his attitude was characteristically that of the dilettante, of the amateur; he played it, as it were, contemptuously, even as he had played poker at Harvard, with a cynical audacity that had a peculiarly disturbing effect upon his companions. He bluffed, he raised the limit in spite of protests, and when he lost one always had the feeling that he ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... interest in art to be able to abandon it entirely. Before entering college, art was a passion, but when, at the age of twenty, the release gave me the liberty to throw myself into painting, the finer roots of enthusiasm were dead, and I became only a dilettante, for the years when one acquires the mastery of hand and will which make the successful artist ...
— The Autobiography of a Journalist, Volume I • Stillman, William James

... begin. The lawyer group—clerks and all—is excellent. Dickens' early experiences stood him in good stead here. Excellent too are those studies in the ways of impecuniosity and practical shiftlessness, Harold Skimpole, the airy, irresponsible, light-hearted epicurean, with his pretty tastes and dilettante accomplishments, and Mrs. Jellyby, the philanthropist, whose eyes "see nothing nearer" than Borrioboola-Gha, on the banks of the far Niger, and never dwell to any purpose on the utter discomfort of the home of her husband and children. Characters of this kind ...
— Life of Charles Dickens • Frank Marzials

... one dollar will buy in different kinds of light; "table, weight of copper required different distance, 100-ohm lamp, 16 candles"; table with curves showing increased economy by larger engine, higher power, etc. There is not much that is dilettante about all this. Note is made of an article in April, 1879, putting the total amount of gas investment in the whole world at that time at $1,500,000,000; which is now (1910) about the amount of the electric-lighting investment in the United ...
— Edison, His Life and Inventions • Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin

... a great deal that is too difficult for the dilettante, Marie Antoinette," sighed the queen. "Meanwhile, we will ...
— Marie Antoinette And Her Son • Louise Muhlbach

... young lady must have gone away with the idea that I was a combination of longshore lout and effeminate dilettante, with the financial resources of the former. She might as well have that idea as any other, I supposed, but, in her eyes, I must be more of a freak than ever. I should take care to keep out of the sight of those eyes as much as possible. But that the ...
— The Rise of Roscoe Paine • Joseph C. Lincoln

... formal but agreeable manners. He was the type of the over-civilized, as Professor Chadd was of the uncivilized pedant. His formality and agreeableness did him some credit under the circumstances. He had a vast experience of books and a considerable experience of the more dilettante fashionable salons. But neither branch of knowledge had accustomed him to the spectacle of two grey-haired middle-class gentlemen in modern costume throwing themselves about like acrobats as a substitute for an ...
— The Club of Queer Trades • G. K. Chesterton

... when the writer himself overtook me at my hotel. For a moment I scarcely recognized him. A new suit of fashionably-cut clothes had changed him, without, however, entirely concealing his rustic angularity of figure and outline. He even affected a fashionable dilettante air, but so mildly and so innocently ...
— Drift from Two Shores • Bret Harte

... commotion. On one side, the partisans from the old school, who, from prejudice or custom, adhered to Hasse and Metastasio, predicted failure. This party was composed of Italians, and of all those who had "gone out" with old Austria. New Austria, on the other hand, with all the young dilettante of Vienna, were resolved to sustain Gluck, and, if possible, secure to his new opera an unprecedented triumph. The excitement reached even those boxes where sat the elite of the Viennese nobility. Even THEIR voices were to be heard ...
— Joseph II. and His Court • L. Muhlbach

... reason for his delay was a personal one. He had dawdled over his cigar because he was at heart a dilettante, and thinking over a pleasure to come often gave him a subtler satisfaction than its realisation. This was especially the case when the pleasure was a delicate one, as his pleasures mostly were; and on this occasion the ...
— The Age of Innocence • Edith Wharton

... literature. I wanted to write, but I had no very pressing aspirations or inspirations. I may confess that I was indolent, fond of company, but not afraid of comparative solitude, and I was moreover an entire dilettante. I read a good many books, and tried feverishly to write in the style of the authors who most attracted me, I settled down at home, more or less, in a country village where I knew everyone; I travelled a little; and I paid occasional visits to ...
— Father Payne • Arthur Christopher Benson

... stroll—keeping within earshot of the house, so as to hear any possible outcry from the nursery. He had been on his feet all day. But he reflected that there was a real satisfaction in his family tasks, however gruelling. Now, at last (he said to himself), I am really a citizen, not a mere dilettante. Of course it is arduous. No one who is not a parent realizes, for example, the extraordinary amount of buttoning and unbuttoning necessary in rearing children. I calculate that 50,000 buttonings are required for each one before it reaches ...
— Where the Blue Begins • Christopher Morley

... Gaetano, "I did not think you so passionate a dilettante. You exceed me—to pay for music with gold is well enough, but with life—ah, that is altogether a different thing; mine is valuable, and I keep it ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851 • Various

... of a naturalist and a bit of a sportsman. Glad of a ride through the jungle on an elephant. Glad of his board and lodging. Bit of a student he thinks himself in his dilettante, Parisian way. Oh, there's no ...
— Trapped by Malays - A Tale of Bayonet and Kris • George Manville Fenn

... the Emperor. His recommendation, for in fact it was and could be only that, was quite in keeping with the traditions of his office and the people's own view of royal government. The speech, as was admitted, was suggested by no mere dilettante's vanity, but, as is evident from his words at the Art Museum, by the conviction that just as it is the imperial duty to provide an efficient army and navy, so it is the imperial duty to use every ...
— William of Germany • Stanley Shaw

... work for a girl of her age, and was improving all the time, but the trip over the sea seemed as far off as a trip to the moon. Toinette was somewhat of a dilettante, and pottered away with her water-colors with more or less success. But she admired good work, and was quick to see that Helen was a hard student, and to respect her for it. Although so unlike in disposition, ...
— Caps and Capers - A Story of Boarding-School Life • Gabrielle E. Jackson

... that is only being nibbled at, smelt at, one might say, at the present moment," he observed, "but it is one that will have to engage our serious attention and consideration before long. The first thing that we shall have to do is to get out of the dilettante and academic way of approaching it. We must collect and assimilate hard facts. It is a subject that ought to appeal to all thinking minds, and yet, you know, I find it surprisingly difficult to ...
— The Unbearable Bassington • Saki

... she had Craven with her to share in her silent irony. At that moment she felt some of the very common conceit of the rich dilettante, who tastes but who never creates, for whom indeed most of the creation ...
— December Love • Robert Hichens

... there. In Paris he kept a journal for about three weeks; it records attendance upon a single lecture in botany and seventeen theatrical performances. Naturally his brothers could only see that he was an amiable, idle young fellow, who had drifted into a dilettante attitude toward life, and showed little promise of usefulness. But idling as well as industry has to be judged by its fruits. He was in a real sense seeing life, as he personally needed to see it, ...
— Washington Irving • Henry W. Boynton

... of the Rancho de las Sombras was no dilettante. He was a "hustler." He was generally up, mounted, and away of mornings before the rest of the household were awake, making the rounds of the flocks and camps. This was the duty of the major-domo, a stately old Mexican with a princely air and manner, but Teddy seemed ...
— Whirligigs • O. Henry

... only to look at." Demidoff "was a tall, thin man," continues Mr. Hacklaender, "with light, almost yellow, complexion, and always dressed with extreme elegance. On the occasion of our first visit to his town-house the princess was painting in her studio, in which art she was more than a dilettante. The prince went first to her with Demidoff, and after they had come back we heard from her a peal of the heartiest laughter, which rung down through five large rooms. Soon after she came out and greeted us in the kindest fashion. She was then a young and handsome woman, with a splendid ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 26, August, 1880 - of Popular Literature and Science • Various

... met upon the street; Quick passion sprung into the eye of each; No dilettante heat! For though I do not love her now, beseech You, signor, do you think We could face so in any spot, nor fear To leap the fatal brink Into each other's arms—that, once a-near, Hell's self could make ...
— Nirvana Days • Cale Young Rice

... dilettante middle class, and mean to try what I can do with these hard-handed fellows who live among facts. You will be ...
— The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Volume 1 • Leonard Huxley

... volunteering aid that was received rather distrustfully, as his love of effect caused him to array the model school-children in colours gaudy enough, as Gertrude complained, 'to corrupt a saint.' Nor was his dilettante help more appreciated at a small stand, well provided with tiny drawers, and holding a shaded lamp, according to Gertrude, 'burning something horrible ending in gen, that would kill anybody but Tom, who managed it,' but ...
— The Trial - or, More Links of the Daisy Chain • Charlotte M. Yonge

... said, "are one of those unpractical persons, who bring to the affairs of a purely utilitarian epoch the 'faineant' scruples of the dilettante and romanticist. You cannot regulate the flow of wealth any more than you can dam a river with shifting sand. Don't you know that destiny, whether it be guided by other powers or not, was never meant to be ...
— The Governors • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... upon me since I broke my own hip bone and know what it means," the old man went on. "With the help of my fellow-student there, from a mere dilettante I became a practised surgeon; and, what is more, I am one of those who serve Esculapius at my own expense. However, there are accessory reasons for which I have chosen such strange companions: deformed slaves are cheap and besides that, certain investigations ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... not know what it loses in allowing its judgment to be stampeded by unconscionable journalism. Lord Haldane is no political dilettante. Few men in modern times have brought to politics a mind so trained in right thinking, or a spirit so full of that impressive quality, as Morley calls it, the presentiment of the eve: "a feeling of the difficulties and interests ...
— The Mirrors of Downing Street - Some Political Reflections by a Gentleman with a Duster • Harold Begbie

... as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name! A society may call itself an Entomological Society, but the man who arrogates such a broad title as that to himself, in the present state of science, is a pretender, sir, a dilettante, an impostor! No man can be truly called an entomologist, sir; the subject is too vast for any single ...
— The Poet at the Breakfast Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... element." In the education and elevation of woman we are yet to learn the true manhood and womanhood, the true masculine and feminine elements. Dio Lewis is rapidly changing our ideas of feminine beauty. In the large waists and strong arms of the girls under his training, some dilettante gentleman may mourn a loss of feminine delicacy. So in the wise, virtuous, self-supporting, common-sense women we propose as the mothers of the future republic, the reverend gentleman may see a lack of what he considers the feminine ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... artificer, craftsman, handicraftsman, journeyman, mechanic, workman, laborer, operative, industrial. Antonyms: idler, drone, dabbler, sluggard, truant, dilettante, loafer, shirker. ...
— Putnam's Word Book • Louis A. Flemming

... metropolitan musical attractions, comes the more silent reign of the picture exhibitions—those great art-gatherings from thousands of studios, to undergo the ultimate test of public judgment in the dozen well-filled galleries, which the dilettante, or lounging Londoner, considers it his recurring annual duty strictly to inspect, and regularly to gossip in. As places where everybody meets everybody, and where lazy hours can be conveniently lounged away, the exhibitions ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 444 - Volume 18, New Series, July 3, 1852 • Various

... and luxurious class exists in this country, and that it is less exempt than in our own from the reproach of preferring inglorious ease to the furtherance of liberal ideas. It is rapidly increasing, and I am not sure that the indefinite growth of the dilettante spirit, in connection with large and lavishly-expended wealth, is an unmixed good, even in a society in which freedom of development has obtained so many interesting triumphs. The fact that this body is not represented in the governing class, ...
— The Point of View • Henry James

... was not her fault a few of them escaped. But we've all been working both tides under, King. Take me; this is my first night in bed in three, and here I am awake! No—nothing personal—glad to see you, but please understand. And I'm a leisured dilettante compared to most of the others. She must have known our fix. ...
— King—of the Khyber Rifles • Talbot Mundy

... Colonel's age. Durant knew a man who had taught himself the 'cello at fifty-five. But the Colonel was not that sort of adventurous dilettante. Neither was Mrs. Fazakerly exactly like a violoncello, she was more like a piano; while Miss Tancred, from the Colonel's point of view, was like a hurdy-gurdy. Not a difficult instrument the hurdy-gurdy; you have only to keep on turning a handle to make it ...
— The Return of the Prodigal • May Sinclair

... born, wilt thou not die? "Explain" me all this, or do one of two things: Retire into private places with thy foolish cackle; or, what were better, give it up, and weep, not that the reign of wonder is done, and God's world all disembellished and prosaic, but that thou hitherto art a Dilettante and ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... role was silence. If Cheriton didn't speak (and Cheriton's expression showed that he knew) and if Hilary didn't speak ... well, he, Peter, couldn't speak either. He must acquiesce in what appeared to be a conspiracy to keep this pathetic, worn-out dilettante in ...
— The Lee Shore • Rose Macaulay

... unknown to fame who both grappled seriously with Greek philosophy and also endeavoured to carry it religiously into practice. Yet for the most part the Roman, even when he is a writer upon such subjects, carries with him the unmistakable air of the amateur or the dilettante. In reading Seneca, as in reading Cicero, we feel that we are dealing with an able man possessed of an excellent gift for popular exposition or essay-writing, but hardly with a man of original philosophic endeavour or of strong practical conviction. And ...
— Life in the Roman World of Nero and St. Paul • T. G. Tucker

... general level of Europeans who display curiosity about history or art. Which is probably true. But it ought to be remembered by us Europeans (and in sackcloth!) that the mass of us with money to spend on pleasure are utterly indifferent to history and art. The European dilettante goes to the Uffizi and sees a shopkeeper from Milwaukee gazing ignorantly at a masterpiece, and says: "How inferior this shopkeeper from Milwaukee is to me! The American is an inartistic race!" But what about the shopkeeper from Huddersfield or Amiens? The shopkeeper from ...
— Your United States - Impressions of a first visit • Arnold Bennett

... parturition, not the pain of a stylist like Flaubert, but the Sisyphus-like labor of getting his notes, his facts, his characters marshalled and moving to a conclusion. Like Anthony Trollope, when the last page of a book was finished he began another. He was a workman, not a dilettante ...
— Ivory Apes and Peacocks • James Huneker

... Hush! Here is music to soothe your troubled spirit. Next to him, on this side, sits the dilettante composer, Mr. Trillo; they say his name was O'Trill, and he has taken the O from the beginning, and put it at the end. I do not know how this may be. He plays well on the violoncello, and better on the piano; sings agreeably; has a talent at versemaking, ...
— Crotchet Castle • Thomas Love Peacock

... Saxe wrote his Reveries. This was a fine book for a soldier to write, and for that alone he would deserve praise, even if he had not beaten the English so gloriously. Mademoiselle Verrieres was an actress and Dupin de Francueil a dilettante. Aurore's grandmother, Marie-Aurore, was very musical, she sang operatic songs, and collected extracts from the philosophers. Maurice Dupin was devoted to music and to the theatre. Even Sophie-Victoire had an innate appreciation of beauty. She not only wept, like Margot, ...
— George Sand, Some Aspects of Her Life and Writings • Rene Doumic

... with perpetual repose. It amuses like a panorama and soothes like an opiate, and when you have realised this you will understand why so many thousands of men around this island appear to spend all their time in watching tidal water. Lest you should suspect me of taking a merely dilettante interest in the view, I must add that I am ...
— From a Cornish Window - A New Edition • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... like, and the things I like are not always the things I know—oftener the things I feel." Bond was speaking with a greater sincerity than he usually permitted himself. The right touch just then might have determined his future: he was quite as willing to become a Veritist as to remain a mere Dilettante. ...
— Under the Skylights • Henry Blake Fuller

... immense care was given to his education, in which Lord Chatham personally interested himself; and he traveled widely. The result of this, on a very receptive mind with varied natural gifts, was to make Beckford an ideal dilettante. His tastes in literature, painting, music (in which Mozart was his tutor), sculpture, architecture, and what not, were refined to the highest nicety. He was able to gratify each of them as such a man can rarely have the means to do. He built palaces and towers of splendor instead of merely ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 4 • Charles Dudley Warner

... squalor of the men and their surroundings was concerned, although it was at first something of a shock to me, I did not allow myself to be disconcerted on its account. I had no desire or ambition to be a mere dilettante Socialist, and as dirt and squalor had to be faced, well, I was ready to face them. A famous Russian writer has described a strange phase through which the Russian youth passed not many years since, the "V. Narod" ("To the People!") movement, when young men and girls by the thousands, some belonging ...
— A Girl Among the Anarchists • Isabel Meredith

... has this moderately-good organ been brought to such perfection? By a process not very prevalent amongst English singers—practice the most constant, study the most unwearied. Punch will bet a wager with any sporting dilettante that Miss Kemble has sung more while learning her art, than many old stagers ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete • Various

... do not in the least want to know what happened in the past, except as it enables me to see my way more clearly through what is happening to-day. I want to know what men thought and did in the thirteenth century, not out of any dilettante or idle antiquarian's curiosity, but because the thirteenth century is at the root of what men think and do in the nineteenth. Well then, it cannot be a bad educational rule to start from what is most interesting, and to work from that outwards and backwards. By beginning with the present we ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 3 of 3) - Essay 1: On Popular Culture • John Morley

... come to Egypt for my sick-leave; and none of us would have met. I had visited the artist's studio to please a friend, and bought a picture to please him (not myself); therefore he regarded me as a charitable dilettante, likely to buy anything if properly approached. Bad luck had come to him; he wanted to try pastures new, and needed money at short notice: therefore he wished to dispose of a secret which might be the key to fortune. Why didn't he use ...
— It Happened in Egypt • C. N. Williamson & A. M. Williamson

... vast building, like a dried kernel too small for its shell.' The place breathed imbecility, and unreality, and sleepy life-in- death, while the whole nineteenth century went roaring on its way outside. And as Lancelot thought, though only as a dilettante, of old St. Paul's, the morning star and focal beacon of England through centuries and dynasties, from old Augustine and Mellitus, up to those Paul's Cross sermons whose thunders shook thrones, and to noble Wren's masterpiece of art, he asked, 'Whither all this? ...
— Yeast: A Problem • Charles Kingsley

... Seth was there to help, she was bent on bringing everything to a pitch of cleanliness and order that would have satisfied her Aunt Poyser. The cottage was far from that standard at present, for Lisbeth's rheumatism had forced her to give up her old habits of dilettante scouring and polishing. When the kitchen was to her mind, Dinah went into the new room, where Adam had been writing the night before, to see what sweeping and dusting were needed there. She opened the window and let in the fresh ...
— Adam Bede • George Eliot

... was very generally recognized as a discerning dilettante in most matters artistic. He was an excellent judge of literature, painting, and sculpture, . . his house, though small, was a perfect model of taste in design and adornment, . . he knew where to pick up choice bits of ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... which had been begun earlier in the century, - finished it, I suppose, for consistency's sake, in the manner in which it had originally been designed rather than in accordance with the artistic tastes that formed the consolation of his old age. He was a painter, a writer, a dramatist, a modern dilettante, addicted to private theatricals. There is something very attractive in the image that he has imprinted on the page of history. He was both clever and kind, and many reverses and much suffering had not imbittered him nor quenched his faculty of enjoyment. He was ...
— A Little Tour in France • Henry James

... was the "odd man" of the Fourth Party, apparently content to fetch and carry for his colleagues, and was believed to have no definite ambitions of his own. His reputation in the parliament of 1880-1886 was that of a dilettante, who allied himself with the three politicians already named from a feeling of irresponsibility rather than of earnest purpose; he was regarded as one who, on the rare occasions when he spoke, was more desirous to impart an academic quality to his speeches than to make any solid ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2 - "Baconthorpe" to "Bankruptcy" • Various

... events, impress people with a sense of our enjoyment of them. There is a noble piece of character-drawing in one of Mr. Henry James's novels, The Portrait of a Lady, where Gilbert Osmond, a selfish dilettante, finding that he cannot make a great success or attain a great position, devotes himself to trying to mystify and provoke the curiosity of the world by retiring into a refined seclusion, and professing that it affords him an exquisite kind of enjoyment. The hideous vulgarity of his attitude is ...
— At Large • Arthur Christopher Benson

... other—perhaps in the hope of finding in those distant, hard places the secret of Lawrence Teck's attractiveness. And, in fact, he looked stronger in spirit as well as in body. The hypochondriac, the timid dilettante, seemed to have slunk away; in his place stood a man who had forced himself, against all his natural instincts, to endure extremes of cold and heat, dirt and famine, hardship and danger. Even now his face was calm; but he ...
— Sacrifice • Stephen French Whitman

... sorrow. The experiment has been made in many forms, but no one has yet been nourished by the fruit of the tree of knowledge who has eaten of that fruit alone. In the art of living, as in all the arts which illustrate and enrich living, the amateur and the dilettante have no real position; they never attain to that mastery of knowledge or of execution which alone give reality to a man's life or work. Mastery in any art comes to those only who give themselves without reservation or stint to their task; ...
— Books and Culture • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... severe. For many days I saw him working on a Descent from the Cross by Tintoretto—a bold attempt, for Tintoretto's colors are as baffling as those of the great Venetian master himself. This copy had received very general praise, and one day I took a Lucca friend, a dilettante, to see it. Mr. G—— brought the canvas out in the hall, that we might see it outside of the ocean of color which surrounded it in the gallery. When we reached the hall, Mr. G—— turned the picture full to the light. The effect was astounding. It was so brilliant that you ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 11, - No. 22, January, 1873 • Various

... dilettante like you to sit in judgment?" he demanded, the other's barb rankling none the less that he had invited it. "You have no notion of just political expediency; no notion even of politics with which you meddle. Politics isn't book knowledge; it's flesh ...
— The Henchman • Mark Lee Luther

... is an excellent man, with a good heart and a knowledge ... but he has no character... and he will remain all his life half a savant, half a man of the world, that is to say, a dilettante, that is to say, to speak plainly,—neither one thing nor the other. ...
— Rudin • Ivan Turgenev

... his contention to CHARLES PERRAULT (1628-1703), who had burlesqued the AEneid, written light and fragile pieces of verse, and occupied himself as a dilettante in patristic and historical studies. In 1687, after various skirmishes between partisans on either side, the quarrel assumed a new importance. The King had recovered after a painful operation; it was a moment for gratulation. Perrault, at a sitting of the Academy, ...
— A History of French Literature - Short Histories of the Literatures of the World: II. • Edward Dowden

... vegetable life, and when he left medicine it was to turn explicitly to zoology as a life study. Here he believed he should find a wider field than in art, which he loved almost as well, and which, it may be added, he has followed all his life as a dilettante of much more than amateurish skill. Had he so elected, Haeckel might have made his mark in art quite as definitely as he has made it in science. Indeed, even as the case stands, his draughtsman's skill has been more than a mere recreation to him, for without his beautiful drawings, ...
— A History of Science, Volume 5(of 5) - Aspects Of Recent Science • Henry Smith Williams

... intellectual powers and widely recognized moderation. The Liberal papers said that the emptiness of Ulster's opposition to Home Rule might be gauged by the fact that it had welcomed the support of a dilettante lordling. ...
— The Red Hand of Ulster • George A. Birmingham

... Mary went on reflectively, "comes from Marseilles. Rather a dangerous heredity, when one thinks of the Latin attitude towards women. But then, I sometimes wonder whether Denis is altogether serious-minded, whether he isn't rather a dilettante. It's very difficult. ...
— Crome Yellow • Aldous Huxley

... nonce was the courtier, the artistic idler, the dilettante in the art of luxurious living; and Payne, conscious of his dirt-smudged overalls, envied him the elegance with which he played the role. That Garman was interested in the crudities of business seemed an improbability; that he ...
— The Plunderer • Henry Oyen

... demarcation, demimonde, demoniac, denizen, denouement, deprecate, depreciate, derelict, derogatory, despicable, desuetude, desultory, deteriorate, diacritical, diagnosis, diaphanous, diatribe, didactic, diffusive, dilatory, dilettante, dipsomania, dirigible, discommode, discretionary, discursive, disintegrate, disparity, dispensable, disseminate, dissimulation, dissonant, distain, divagation, divination, divulge, dolor, dorsal, ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... reading we have fallen into a fireside, dilettante culture of ideas as an intellectual pleasure. Amos and Isaiah do not deal in ideas. Their strength lies in love and hatred, in the keenness and depth of their division between right and wrong. They repeat the work of God the Creator: chaotic sameness ...
— More Pages from a Journal • Mark Rutherford



Words linked to "Dilettante" :   superficial, amateur, sciolist



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