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
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 17:25
  • 1
    A sycophant is the polite word for an ass-kisser.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 16:13
  • @Lambie That looks like a good answer to me :)
    – Joachim
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 17:04
  • @Joachim Thanks. Yeah, too bad I was so late to the game. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 17:28
  • @Lambie I'm even later, but posted an answer nonetheless :)
    – Joachim
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 17:36

7 Answers 7


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

  • As an adjective you might want to consider 'ostentatious':

    • characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others
    • (of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended to attract notice

    A more well-known alternative is 'pompous', but it doesn't necessarily mean someone is attempting to impress others, and could just mean someone is "full of themselves".

  • As a noun you could opt for 'boaster':

    a person who boasts or brags.

    Synonyms include 'blowhard' or 'windbag'.

    As suggested in the comments by Lambie, the word 'sycophant' comes very close, as well:

    a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.

    Note, though, how this is used explicitly for the kind of flattering done to gain an advantage.

    Finally, the term 'braggadocio'—which sounds boastful in and of itself—refers to the action of the braggart:

    empty boasting; bragging.

  • 1
    braggadocio is not the person, luv. It's the action. Why not add my term so I don't have to write an answer? :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 17:59
  • @Lambie Thank you, added! Dictionary.com's entry for 'braggadocio' mentions it can be both: have you found this is not the case?
    – Joachim
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 18:09
  • 1
    Yeah, I always thought it was the action of a braggart. Ha ha. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 18:14

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
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 18:07
  • 2
    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
    Commented 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



A flatterer is someone who praises another without being sincere. The purpose is to benefit the flatterer.

  • 2
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 15:55

A simp, to use the parlance of our times.

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