Put On Airs

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Meaning of Idiom 'Put on Airs'

To put on airs is to act haughty and superior; to make a show of pride and affect a manner of importance; to pretend to be better than you are.

Examples Of Use

"Once he started making money, he began to put on airs and became unbearable to his friends."

"You don't have to put on airs," said Sue to her boyfriend. "My parents will love you just the way you are."

"My wife is always cleaning the house before my friends come over. I tell her there is no need to put on airs for these slobs!"

"She drives me crazy the way she is always putting on airs."

Origin

c. 1700s. Air can mean "the general appearance or character of something." For instance, something might have "an air of originality" or someone might have an "air of importance."

Since at least the 1700's airs has been used to refer to an affected or false show of pride and haughtiness. To 'put on' airs is to apply a false veneer of superiority to oneself.

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