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Pretentious is defined as "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed." What if someone does impress others because they actually do have a greater importance, talent, culture, etc.? What would be a good word to describe such a person?

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    Someone who impresses is usually referred to as impressive. Aug 19, 2014 at 6:06
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    You could use "important", "talented", "cultured", etc.
    – augurar
    Aug 19, 2014 at 6:24
  • Won't remarkable do? Aug 19, 2014 at 17:12
  • If you don't mind sounding a bit old-timey, then awesome works quite well in many cases. It is outdated in this sense, though. Sep 18, 2014 at 7:15
  • You could say "genuinely talented/cultured/etc." if you want to explicitly negate any notion of pretense. "He's not pretentious; he genuinely loves 18th century French poetry."
    – user1635
    Nov 17, 2014 at 10:09

2 Answers 2

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Probably notable conveys the idea:

  • worthy of notice; remarkable; outstanding:
  • prominent, important, or distinguished; eminent: notable artists.
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If said person is very young we can call them a prodigy

(pl. prodigies) [often with modifier] a young person with exceptional qualities or abilities: a Russian pianist who was a child prodigy in his day.

Older people, i.e. not children, might be refered to as a virtuoso

  1. a person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit: a celebrated clarinet virtuoso | [as modifier] virtuoso guitar playing.

  2. a person with a special knowledge of or interest in works of art or curios.

Other words like expert, hot shot, or master can be used too for specific skills.

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