A Word A Day : Bombastic

Monday, 21st January 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective )

Pronunciation : bom-bas-tik

1. (of speech, writing, etc.) high-sounding, high-flown, inflated, pretentious

2. ostentatiously lofty in style

3. of language that is full of long or pretentious words, used to impress others


Late 16th century. Alteration of Old French bombace - cotton stuffing - via medieval Latin bombax - cotton - Greek bombux - silk, silkworm


aureate, balderdash, big-talking, bullshitting, declamatory, euphuistic, flowery, fustian, grandiloquent, grandiose, high-flown, highfalutin, histrionic, inflated, loudmouth, magniloquent, orotund, ostentatious, overblown, ranting, rhapsodic, rhetorical, sonorous, swollen, tumid, turgid, verbose, windbag, windy, wordy


• Pompous, grandiloquent, turgid, florid, grandiose. Bombastic, flowery, pretentious, verbose all describe a use or a user of language more elaborate than is justified by or appropriate to the content being expressed.

• Bombastic suggests language with a theatricality or staginess of style far too powerful or declamatory for the meaning or sentiment being expressed.

...a bombastic sermon on the evils of cardplaying.

• Flowery describes language filled with extravagant images and ornate expressions: a flowery eulogy.

• Pretentious refers specifically to language that is purposely inflated in an effort to impress: a pretentious essay designed to demonstrate one's sophistication.

• Verbose characterizes utterances or speakers that use more words than necessary to express an idea: a verbose speech, speaker.

• Grandiloquent means lofty in style, pompous, or bombastic.

• Magniloquent means lofty and extravagant in speech.


humble, quiet, reserved, restrained, subtle, understated

Contextual Examples:

• His speeches are outbursts of incredible arrogance, equally powerful and bombastic.

• The writer's bombastic, pompous style was a real turn-off for me.

Related Words:

bombast : Noun

bombaster : Noun

bombastically : Adverb

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