Originally, an admirer or lover of the arts, a connoisseur. Or, a dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge; an amateur. Today, "dilettante" is more likely to be used in the latter sense, and taken by many — by the listener, even if not by the speaker — as an insult. It was more innocent in its original uses, as derived from the Italian word "dilettare," meaning "to delight." In the 18th century, a dilettante was simply a person who delighted in the arts. Later, the term came to refer to an amateur — someone who cultivates an art as a pastime without pursuing it professionally. From this meaning developed the pejorative meaning the word carries now: a person who dabbles in an art, but is not truly devoted to it. (pr. dih'leh-tahnt)

Glossary of Art Terms. 2014.

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  • dilettante — [ diletɑ̃t ] n. • 1740; mot it. « celui qui s adonne à un art par plaisir »; p. prés. de dilettare « délecter » 1 ♦ Vx Amateur passionné de musique. ⇒ mélomane. Par ext. Amateur d art, de littérature. « Le dilettante n a pas de tempérament… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Dilettante — may refer to: A person who enjoys the arts or someone who engages in a field as an amateur out of casual interest rather than as a profession Dilettante Society Music The Dilettantes, a San Francisco neo psychedelic rock band Dilettante (album),… …   Wikipedia

  • Dilettante — Dil et*tan te, n.; pl. {Dilettanti}. [It., prop. p. pr. of dillettare to take delight in, fr. L. delectare to delight. See {Delight}, v. t.] An admirer or lover of the fine arts; popularly, an amateur; especially, one who follows an art or a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dilettante — 1733, borrowing of It. dilettante lover of music or painting, from dilettare to delight, from L. delectare (see DELIGHT (Cf. delight)). Originally without negative connotation, devoted amateur, the pejorative sense emerged late 18c. by contrast… …   Etymology dictionary

  • dilettante — [adj] amateurish artsy fartsy*, dabbling, green*, half baked*, half cocked*, rookie, tenderfoot*, unaccomplished, ungifted, unskilled; concept 527 Ant. professional dilettante [n] amateur abecedarian, aesthete, connoisseur, dabbler, dallier,… …   New thesaurus

  • dilettante — [dil′ə tänt΄, dil′ətant΄; dil΄ə tänt′, dil′ətant′; ] occas. [ dil΄ə tän′tē, dil΄ətan′tē] n. pl. dilettantes or dilettanti [dil΄ə tən′tī΄, dil΄ə tən′tē] [It < prp. of dilettare, to delight < L delectare, to charm, DELIGHT] 1. Now Rare a… …   English World dictionary

  • dilettante — DILETTANTE: Homme très riche, abonné à l Opéra …   Dictionnaire des idées reçues

  • dilettante — [part. pres. di dilettare ]. ■ s.m. e f. 1. [chi svolge un attività non per professione, né per lucro, ma per piacere proprio] ▶◀ amatore, appassionato, cultore, [di teatro] filodrammatico. ◀▶ professionista. 2. (spreg.) [chi dimostra… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • dilettante — 1 *amateur, dabbler, tyro Contrasted words: artist, *expert, adept 2 *aesthete, connoisseur Contrasted words: *artist, artificer, architect: *writer …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • dilettante — meaning ‘someone with superficial or affected knowledge of a subject’, is spelt with one l and two ts, and has plural forms dilettanti or dilettantes …   Modern English usage

  • dilettante — ► NOUN (pl. dilettanti or dilettantes) ▪ a person who dabbles in a subject for enjoyment but without serious study. DERIVATIVES dilettantish adjective dilettantism noun. ORIGIN Italian, person loving the arts …   English terms dictionary

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