Definition of SHOW OFF

SHOW OFF Verb and Noun

Show off is a versatile term that can function as both a verb and a noun. As a verb, it describes the action of displaying one’s abilities, possessions, or achievements in a boastful or ostentatious manner, seeking attention or admiration from others. As a noun, it refers to a person who habitually engages in such behavior.

SHOW OFF as a verb

As a verb, to show off entails deliberately drawing attention to oneself or one’s accomplishments in order to impress others. This behavior often involves flaunting expensive possessions, boasting about achievements, or demonstrating skills or talents in a manner intended to garner admiration.

Boasting and Bragging: Individuals who show off may engage in boasting or bragging, emphasizing their perceived superiority or success compared to others. This behavior is often driven by a desire for validation, recognition, or social status, as individuals seek to elevate their self-image or reputation.

Material Displays: Showing off frequently involves showcasing material possessions, such as luxury cars, designer clothing, or extravagant homes, as symbols of wealth, status, or success. Material displays serve as a means of signaling social standing, asserting dominance, or eliciting envy or admiration.

Skill Demonstrations: In addition to material displays, individuals may show off their skills or talents to demonstrate proficiency, expertise, or superiority in a particular domain. This could include showcasing athletic abilities, artistic talents, intellectual prowess, or specialized knowledge.

Attention-Seeking Behavior: Showing off is often associated with attention-seeking behavior, as individuals vie for recognition, praise, or validation from their peers or audiences. This behavior may stem from insecurities, low self-esteem, or a need for external validation, driving individuals to seek affirmation or approval through conspicuous displays.

SHOW OFF as a noun

As a noun, a show-off refers to a person who habitually engages in boastful or ostentatious behavior, often seeking attention or admiration through displays of their abilities, possessions, or achievements. They may be perceived as confident or arrogant, depending on the context and motivations behind their actions.

In conclusion, showing off encompasses both the action of drawing attention to oneself or one’s accomplishments and the person who habitually engages in such behavior. Whether through material displays, skill demonstrations, or attention-seeking behavior, individuals may show off to assert their status, seek validation, or garner admiration from others. Understanding the motivations and dynamics behind showing off sheds light on its role in social interactions and the complexities of human behavior.


Both show off (two words) and show-off (hyphenated) are correct, but their usage can depend on the context and personal preference.

  • Show off as two separate words is more commonly used in informal writing.
  • Show-off with a hyphen is also correct and is often used in both informal and formal contexts.

In general, the hyphenated form is preferred when show-off is used as an adjective (e.g., “He is a show-off person”), while the two-word form may be preferred when it is used as a verb (e.g., “He likes to show off his skills”). However, both forms are widely accepted.

Examples of SHOW OFF in a sentence

SHOW OFF as a verb in a sentence

  • He always liked to show off his new gadgets to his friends.
  • She couldn’t resist showing off her dance moves at the party.
  • The athlete couldn’t help but show off his impressive skills during the game.
  • He tends to show off his wealth by driving expensive cars.
  • She’s just showing off to impress her boss.
  • The peacock showed off its vibrant feathers to attract a mate.
  • Don’t show off too much or you’ll make others feel inadequate.
  • He often shows off his artistic talents through his paintings.

SHOW-OFF as a noun in a sentence

  • His flashy car was just another show off of his wealth.
  • The fashion show featured many show-offs who strutted down the runway.
  • She dismissed him as a mere show-off who craved attention.
  • The child was considered a show-off because he always boasted about his accomplishments.
  • He’s not a true artist; he’s just a show-off trying to get attention.
  • Some people mistake confidence for show-off behavior.
  • Despite his reputation as a show-off, he was actually quite shy.
  • The boss saw through his employee’s show-off demeanor and valued his hard work instead.

Origin of SHOW OFF

The term show off explores the dynamics of display, exhibition, and self-promotion, embodying actions and behaviors aimed at attracting attention or admiration. Rooted in Middle English and modern colloquial usage, it has evolved into a verb and noun that describe both the act of flaunting and the person who engages in such behavior.

  • Middle English and Modern Colloquial Origins: Show off derives from the Middle English “showen,” meaning “to exhibit” or “display,” combined with the modern colloquial usage of “off” to imply outward or conspicuous action. These origins reflect the term’s association with making something visible or prominent.
  • Displaying or Exhibiting: As a verb, show off refers to the act of displaying or exhibiting something in a way that is intended to attract attention or admiration. This can include showing off talents, possessions, or achievements in a manner that emphasizes their value or desirability.
  • Flaunting and Self-Promotion: Show off also involves flaunting or self-promotion, where individuals deliberately draw attention to themselves or their attributes. This behavior often aims to impress others or boost one’s social standing by highlighting personal qualities or successes.
  • Attention-Seeking Behavior: The term describes attention-seeking behavior characterized by efforts to stand out or be noticed. This can manifest in various contexts, such as social gatherings, professional settings, or online platforms, where individuals may showcase their skills, knowledge, or lifestyle.
  • Bragging and Boasting: Show off can carry a negative connotation of bragging or boasting, implying excessive pride or arrogance. This aspect of the term highlights the fine line between sharing achievements and appearing overly self-important or conceited.
  • Demonstration and Exhibition: Beyond personal behavior, show off can refer to the demonstration or exhibition of objects, products, or performances intended to highlight their features, capabilities, or benefits. This usage is common in marketing, entertainment, and educational contexts.

Show off captures the essence of display, exhibition, and self-promotion, reflecting the human desire to be recognized and valued. From its linguistic roots in Middle English to its contemporary applications in describing both individual behaviors and broader demonstrations, the term embodies the interplay between visibility, admiration, and social dynamics in various contexts.


  • Flaunt
  • Display
  • Boast
  • Parade
  • Exhibit
  • Parade
  • Brag
  • Vaunt


  • Conceal
  • Hide
  • Downplay
  • Understate
  • Modest
  • Unobtrusive
  • Reserved
  • Humble


  • Impress
  • Swagger
  • Showcase
  • Demonstrate
  • Present
  • Highlight
  • Publicize
  • Advertise

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