Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Informal Pompous or pretentious: "highfalutin reasons for denying direct federal assistance to the unemployed” ( Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Self-important, pompous; arrogant or egotistical; tending to show off or hold oneself in unduly high regard.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Affectedly genteel; pretentious; haughty; snobbish.
  • n. High-flown, bombastic language.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Pompous speech or writing; bombast; fustian.
  • Pompous; high-sounding; bombastic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. affectedly genteel

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
In his book, The Adventure of English, Melvyn Bragg records that in a nascent America, when the well-to-do travelled by steamboat, said passengers were referred to as highfalutin due to the high fluted funnels on the boats. Compare riffraff. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • P.S. – "highfalutin" is my safe word with Mistress Jim.

    ‘MARRIED LIFE’ MIGHT NOT BE PRO MARRIAGE

  • "'Character' is almost too highfalutin a word sometimes," coach Gregg Popovich says.

    USATODAY.com - Spurs are putting it all together

  • It hardly seems right to watch the Super Bowl while eating the kind of highfalutin fare that excites Michelin-starred chefs.

    Super Super Bowl Sandwiches

  • Like De Quincey, on the other hand, Sharp delights in "fine writing," in both senses of the phrase, in the "highfalutin" that is objectionable, and in the ornately beautiful that is one fitting expression of romantic thought.

    Irish Plays and Playwrights

  • The principal thing is to find out whether there is any connection between that camp, the 'highfalutin' gintleman 'of Uncle Mac, and the detective.

    Charred Wood

  • Jessica was what he called "highfalutin" enough to fit her evident station in life, so he made no comment.

    Marjorie at Seacote

  • 'We air a go-ahead people,' they were not given to 'highfalutin', 'nor did they chew their tobacco.

    To The Gold Coast for Gold, Vol. II A Personal Narrative

  • Irked by Viswa's criticisms of the way some ethnic groups are treated in Singapore, LKY interrupted a medical treatment to angrily refute the "highfalutin" speech in a rare appearance on the parliament floor.

    SARA - Southeast Asian RSS Aggregator

  • Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, delivered a statement at what is called the 'High Segment' beginning of the 13th session of the Human Rights Council (I prefer the word 'highfalutin' as it is taken up with speeches by ministers from different States, often repeating the same platitudes).

    Jihad Watch

  • "One minnit ridin 'in the buggy' longside er Mars Spite, en de nex 'highfalutin' 'roun' playin 'de queen er spades.

    Southern Prose and Poetry for Schools

Comments

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  • My english prof used this word a lot to describe the tone of vocabulary in our essays.

    September 18, 2007

  • NOT "highfaluting".

    March 17, 2007