give (oneself) airs
also, put on airs
Meaning | Synonyms
- to be pretentious/showy
- act proudly or arrogantly
- be on your dignity
- take the huff
- act haughtily
- give oneself an air of superiority
- behave snobbishly, as if one regards everyone else as being inferior
- Susan is a very smart girl but the fact that she gives herself airs about her job makes me like her a little less.
- You should stop giving yourself airs, I know that you have been promoted but you are still just one of us.
- I like my new neighbour. Even though he runs his own company and is very wealthy he doesn’t put on any airs.
- I wish that my girlfriend would stop putting on airs. She is not as important as she wants people to think that she is.
- Michelle should not give herself the airs as she’s no different from the rest of us.
There are a few variations on the phrase, all meaning the same thing. Give (someone) airs, putting on airs and putting on airs and graces all
According to the dictionary, an “air” is a fake way of acting. In French, it means “look, appearance, or bearing”. Thus, if you are giving yourself airs or putting on airs you are pretending to be something that you are not.
The phrase has been used since the 1500s to describe somebody’s manner or appearance. The phrase put in airs has been used since the 1780s. The meaning has not changed since then.