I'm looking for a verb used on someone who doesn't have much in the pocket but strains to keep up his/her appearance through constant notions of luxuries he/she doens't really have.

In Chinese we have sayings like "穷嘚瑟(flaunt with no money)" or "装大款(fake being rich)", which are often used in a sarcastic and informal tone; but I haven't had any luck finding any English equivalent yet.

Also, is there an adjective for people behaving like that? Thanks a lot!

  • Would a phrase do? Keeping up appearances.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 21:54

2 Answers 2


The best single word I can think of is "pretentious". You may also like the expression "two bob snob" or "all hat and no cattle" (and its many variants.)


I'm not sure if there's a verb that specifically means "to pretend to be wealthy," but the word pose is used a lot to describe someone who fakes their true nature.

to pretend to be something that you are not or to have qualities that you do not have, in order to be admired or attract interest

  • Pose seems quite fitting. Thank you for your efforts!
    – Hawk
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 4:16
  • @Hawk I think it’s most common to call such a person “a poser” than to use the verb normally like “he poses” or “he is posing”.
    – ErikE
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 4:51
  • @ErikE Yes! But I prefer "pose" here because it can be followed by "as xx" to serve an explanatory function. "Poser" is comparatively general.
    – Hawk
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 6:13
  • @Hawk I agree that "posing as a spoiled rich kid" works fine, but it doesn't have the same (slang) condemnation as "what a poser, acting like he's filthy rich!" A poser is a wannabe, a person with no hope of ever actually convincing anyone that he is what he suggests. Merely factually stating "posing as an X" leaves open room for the person to be pulling it off successfully. The more slang term "what a poser" also indicates that the person is failing at it.
    – ErikE
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 6:16
  • @ErikE Totally agreed. Thx!
    – Hawk
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 3:08

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