The word was seen used in the context of a person recommending a book.

A critic responded, claiming the author had no real expertise, and that the content of the book should be taken with "a grain of salt".

The implication is that by writing the book, the author is an expert on the subject matter. The critic's stance was that shouldn't be an assumption. He used this word to describe the author.

I do recall looking the word up in the dictionary at one point, and if memory serves, this is (more or less) how the word was defined:

A person who perceives himself to be an expert (particularly in the arts), but that possesses no actual expertise.

What is this word I'm looking for?

  • Could it be hauteur? Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 18:01
  • If an S word will do too, then supercilious. Unless-perhaps you're thinking of Hubris? Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 18:06
  • 1
    I'm thinking that person is an imposter - but not to be confused with "Imposter Syndrome" where one secretly feels like they're not qualified to do the work they do. Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 18:07
  • It is none of those three. Remember, I'm only partially certain it starts with an H. Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 18:07
  • Maybe they are a wannabe (although this is very informal). Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 19:36

4 Answers 4


are you looking for hubris?

this word would fit the bill.

Another related appropriate term is megalomaniac


Perhaps charlatan

someone who professes knowledge or expertise, esp in medicine, that he or she does not have; quack


I'd side with the "charlatan", who certainly is an impostor, but maybe an "amateur" (from French), who is a person with no profound knowledge of a subject, though interested in it (as opposed to "professional"), only dubbing in the subject, will suffice? In answer to some other post, "hauteur" literally means "haughty attitude", which is not applicable here.


I've found the word from the original conversation.

The word is dilettante:

A person who claims an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.

  • 2
    I don't think dilettantes necessarily perceive themselves as experts. Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 19:38
  • 3
    Agreed with Peter Shor. A dilettante is a dabbler, one with a superficial or uncommitted interest in many subjects, but not necessarily one who pretends to expertise. The definition you provide is not the one on the page you link, either.
    – choster
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 19:50
  • The definition from this Answer comes from wiktionary. The word is used in Portuguese as well, and I don't know it as meaning "pretending expertise".
    – brasofilo
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 0:57
  • I've updated the question title and description of the situation in which I saw the word, in the hopes of more accurately describing what it was I was looking for. Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 17:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.