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AFFECTATION

AFFECTATION. Behaviour that does not come easily or naturally and therefore seems stilted, false, and often exaggerated. People ‘affecting’ the STYLE or ACCENT of an élite may be dismissed or condemned as putting on airs or getting above themselves. Élites affecting particular usages, however, may be regarded as leaders of fashion. In the 18c, ‘polite’ society in England affected fashionable French expressions, while in Scotland it affected both fashionable French and English expressions. In some parts of the world in the late 20c, affectation may include adding words and phrases of English to a local language or using English instead of that language. See GENTEELISM, HYPERCORRECTION, KENSINGTON, MORNINGSIDE AND KELVINSIDE, OXFORD ENGLISH, USAGE.

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affectation

af·fec·ta·tion / ˌafekˈtāshən/ • n. behavior, speech, or writing that is artificial and designed to impress: she called the room her boudoir, which he thought an affectation. ∎  a studied display of real or pretended feeling: an affectation of calm.

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