bombast


bombast
bombast, rhapsody, rant, fustian, rodomontade all designate a style of speech or writing characterized by high-flown pomposity or pretentiousness of language disproportionate to the thought or subject matter. All of them are derogatory in some degree; some of them are frankly contemptuous.
Bombast does not necessarily connote emptiness of thought, but it implies inflation or a grandiosity or impressiveness in language and style which so outruns the thought that the attention is distracted from the matter and concentrated upon the manner of expression. When used in description rather than in censure, bombast often additionally suggests a soaring eloquence or a kind of oratorical grandeur, such as is found in Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great or is characteristic of Elizabethan drama in comparison with modern realistic drama; when used in depreciation, it suggests padding, windiness, verbosity, and exaggeration
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to outbrave better pens with the swelling bombast of a bragging blank verseNash

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their eloquence is all bombastKingsley

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it looks like mere "rhetoric," certainly not "deeds and language such as men do use." It appears to us, in fact, forced and flagitious bombastT. S. Eliot

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Rhapsody, like bombast, may be scarcely or obviously derogatory. It designates an ecstatic or effusive utterance or writing in which the language or style is governed by the feelings rather than by logical thought. It may, at one extreme, suggest inspired utterance (as in rapture) or, at the other, a maudlin loquaciousness
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O then my breast should warble airs, whose rhapsodies should feast the ears of seraphims— Quarles

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his characters ... are excellently drawn, but he writes as though he had uncovered a new religion and thought it deserved a rhapsodyNew Yorker

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In scholarly and critical use it is often applied to a kind of writing that has no perceptible argument and is seemingly incoherent, yet moves by a kind of logic of its own from one expression of feeling or one image to another
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the traditional assumption that it [Kubla Khan] was a rhapsody of enchanting images which "led to nothing"— Times Lit. Sup.

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Rant and fustian are definitely terms of derogation. Both are applicable to bombast and rhapsody at their worst, but rant stresses its extravagance or violence of expression or utterance and fustian the banality of its quality or the preposterousness of its character
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the hoarse rant of that demagogue fills the air and distracts the people's minds— Ascoli

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he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad, it is not poetry but prose run mad— Pope

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romantic fustian; which may be defined as the enormous disproportion between emotion and the outer object or incident on which it expends itself. Victor Hugo abounds in fustian of this kind— Babbitt

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Rodomontade is applied especially to the rant of the braggart, of the demagogue, or of anyone given to bluster and magniloquence
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the brothers set about abusing each other in good round terms and with each intemperate sally their phrases became more deeply colored with the tincture of Victorian rodomontadeMarsh

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Analogous words: grandiloquence, magniloquence, rhetoric (see corresponding adjectives at RHETORICAL): inflatedness, turgidity, tumidity, flatulence (see corresponding adjectives at INFLATED)
Contrasted words: temperateness or temperance, soberness or sobriety, unimpassionedness (see corresponding adjectives at SOBER): dispassionateness, justness (see corresponding adjectives at FAIR)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bombast — Bom bast (b[o^]m b[.a]st or b[u^]m b[.a]st; 277), n. [OF. bombace cotton, LL. bombax cotton, bombasium a doublet of cotton; hence, padding, wadding, fustian. See {Bombazine}.] 1. Originally, cotton, or cotton wool. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] A candle… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bombast — Sm Schwulst, Redeschwall erw. fremd. Erkennbar fremd (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. bombast, das zunächst Baumwolle bedeutet, dann ein Kleidungsstück, das mit Baumwolle ausgestopft ist , und schließlich eine Redeweise, die mit unnötigem… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Bombast — Bom bast, a. High sounding; inflated; big without meaning; magniloquent; bombastic. [1913 Webster] [He] evades them with a bombast circumstance, Horribly stuffed with epithets of war. Shak. [1913 Webster] Nor a tall metaphor in bombast way.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bombast — Bombast, das Schwülstige, Ueberladene, Gesuchte und Gezierte in der Rede. Das Wort kommt vom englischen Worte Bumbast her, welches ein buntes Kleid, ein durchstepptes Zeug, daher auch alles Aufgedunsene bezeichnet. Z. B. folgende Grabschrift auf… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • bombast — BOMBÁST, Ă adj. (Rar) Bombastic. [< germ. bombast]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DN …   Dicționar Român

  • Bombast — Bombast: Der Ausdruck für »‹Rede›schwulst, Wortschwall« wurde im 18. Jh. aus engl. bombast entlehnt, das zunächst ein zum Auswattieren von Jacketts verwendetes Baumwollgewebe bezeichnete. Die Bedeutungsübertragung auf übertrieben umständliches… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Bombast — Bom*bast (b[o^]m*b[.a]st or b[u^]m*b[.a]st ), v. t. To swell or fill out; to pad; to inflate. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Not bombasted with words vain ticklish ears to feed. Drayton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bombast — (angeblich vom englischen bumbast [d.i. mit Baumwolle ausgestopftes u. durchnähtes Zeug]), aufgeschwollene, aufgedunsene Rede, s. Schwulst. Daher Bombastisch, schwülstig im Reden …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bombast — (engl., v. altfr. bombace, mittellat. bombax, »Baumwolle«), eigentlich ein mit Baumwolle ausgestopftes oder aufgeblähtes Zeug; dann soviel wie Wortschwall, aufgeblähte Rede, Schwulst …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Bombast — (engl.), Zeugstoff zum Auswattieren; Wortschwall, Schwulst; bombastisch, schwülstig, hochtrabend …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon


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