give (oneself) airs

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give (oneself) airs

To think or behave as though one is superior to others or better than one really is; to have or assume a pretentious or self-aggrandizing attitude. I think John is really a decent fellow at heart, but I really wish he wouldn't give himself such airs about his writing abilities. Stop giving yourself airs, Mary, you're not some world-class actor—you're just an amateur like the rest of us!
See also: air, give
References in classic literature ?
The boat you hire up the river above Marlow is not the sort of boat in which you can flash about and give yourself airs.