Originally, an admirer or lover of the arts, a connoisseur. Or, a dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge; an amateur. Today, "dilettante" is more likely to be used in the latter sense, and taken by many ? by the listener, even if not by the speaker ? as an insult. It was more innocent in its original uses, as derived from the Italian word "dilettare," meaning "to delight." In the 18th century, a dilettante was simply a person who delighted in the arts. Later, the term came to refer to an amateur ? someone who cultivates an art as a pastime without pursuing it professionally. From this meaning developed the pejorative meaning the word carries now: a person who dabbles in an art, but is not truly devoted to it. (pr. dih'leh-tahnt)