What do we call a person who is trying to impress somebody (not necessarily to gain any advantage). For example, he buys them expensive products, always talking in a sweet manner etc.

To describe an act of such a person, I want to say the following sentence.

Well, I think he is just being ____________.

Is "Pretentious" a suitable word to fill in the blank in above sentence? What are other choices of word?

  • The closest idiomatic way to say this I can think of would be simply "...he's just trying to impress"
    – Tushar Raj
    Jul 4, 2015 at 17:25

4 Answers 4


Flashy /jazzy or gimmicky, ___ an outward show to impress.


Partly depends on the motive for the behaviour

Insincere Ingratiating - implies he wants advantage

Deferential - implies he sees himself as inferior, like a servant

Disarming - more neutral in tone

Beguiling, captivating, charming - positive in tone.

Pretentious has a meaning of trying to be socially or intellectually superior.


a brown-noser, a kiss-ass or an ass-kisser, a butt-kisser, a suck-up

  • All these words can be used only in cases where the person is trying to impress in order to curry favour. The OP said that it needn't be so.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jul 4, 2015 at 18:07
  • 1
    Welcome to ELU, Leslie. This could be a good answer. Perhaps you could cite the resources you used to define your selections, then test them in a sentence that resembles the example of the OP.
    – ScotM
    Jul 5, 2015 at 23:04

Perhaps affectation is what you're looking for?

noun: speech or conduct not natural to oneself : an unnatural form of behavior meant especially to impress others


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