Does someone you know always shrug in a particular way or say "You know what I mean?" at the end of every sentence? Well, that's a mannerism, a habitual gesture or way of speaking.

Generally, we don't use then term mannerism as a critical term for our friends' behavior, but when applied as a term of art criticism, it can be a negative thing. If a critic talks about a writer's mannerisms, for example, it's probably intended as an insult — suggesting they're writing in a lazy or clichéd way. However, Mannerism, with a capital "M," refers to a specific 16th-century Italian style of painting known for its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) effects.

Definitions of mannerism
  1. noun
    a behavioral attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual
  2. noun
    a deliberate pretense or exaggerated display
    synonyms: affectation, affectedness, pose
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    a theatrical pose created for effect
    radical chic
    an affectation of radical left-wing views and the fashionable dress and lifestyle that goes with them
    type of:
    feigning, pretence, pretending, pretense, simulation
    the act of giving a false appearance
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