Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Grandiloquent, pompous speech or writing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Originally, cotton, or cotton wool.
  • n. Cotton, or any soft, fibrous material, used as stuffing for garments; stuffing; padding.
  • n. High-sounding words; an inflated style; language above the dignity of the occasion; fustian.
  • v. To swell or fill out; to pad; to inflate.
  • adj. High-sounding; inflated; big without meaning; magniloquent; bombastic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, cotton, or cotton wool.
  • n. Cotton, or any soft, fibrous material, used as stuffing for garments; stuffing; padding.
  • n. Fig.: High-sounding words; an inflated style; language above the dignity of the occasion; fustian.
  • adj. High-sounding; inflated; big without meaning; magniloquent; bombastic.
  • transitive v. To swell or fill out; to pad; to inflate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Cotton; the cotton-plant.
  • n. Cotton or other stuff of soft, loose texture, used to stuff garments; padding.
  • n.
  • n. Figuratively, high-sounding words; inflated or extravagant language; fustian; speech too big and high-sounding for the occasion.
  • n. Synonyms Bombast, Fustian, Bathos, Turgidness, Tumidness, Rant. “Bombast was originally applied to a stuff of soft, loose texture, used to swell the garment. Fustian was also a kind of cloth of stiff, expansive character. These terms are applied to a high, swelling style of writing, full of extravagant sentiments and expressions. Bathos is a word which has the same application, meaning generally the mock-heroic—that ‘depth’ into which one falls who overleaps the sublime: the step which one makes in passing from the sublime to the ridiculous.” (De Mille, Elements of Rhetoric, p. 225.) Bombast is rather stronger than fustian. Turgidness and tumidness are words drawn from the swelling of the body, and express mere inflation of style without reference to sentiment. Rant is extravagant or violent language, proceeding from enthusiasm or fanaticism, generally in support of extreme opinions or against those holding opinions of a milder or different sort.
  • High-sounding; inflated; big without meaning.
  • To pad out; stuff, as a doublet with cotton; hence, to inflate; swell out with high-sounding or bombastic language.
  • To beat; baste.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. pompous or pretentious talk or writing

Etymologies

Alteration of obsolete bombace, cotton padding, from Old French, from Medieval Latin bombax, bombac-, cotton; see bombazine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Many of us wish he'd just go away, but ignorant bombast is a money maker in our society.

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  • We have reacted like frightened sheep to the onslaught of ads and bombast from the likes of Sarah Palin, who catered to our racism in the face of a potential black president, and to our fears of making grandma "shovel ready" during the health care reform debates.

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  • After the war, Italian patriotism became just another word for bombast, hardship, war, and desolation.

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  • […] exercises in bombast (with a few exceptions here and there).

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  • Their bombast is a PR ploy, designed to dupe people into across-the-board opposition to the Western model.

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  • Instead of writing a heroic Victory Over The Nazis Symphony, complete with chorus and bombast, which is what he'd been hinting at creating, Shostakovich instead produced a giddy little piece of music with a first movement that could be played at the circus.

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  • I am, even now, ashamed as I recall the bombast to which I treated the Countess de St. Alyre.

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  • He moves across the stage with a majesty sometimes bordering on what Iago calls bombast circumstance; drums and trumpets herald his every entrance; now pacing the shady gardens of the Bosphorus, now foiling,

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  • He moves across the stage with a majesty sometimes bordering on what Iago calls bombast circumstance; drums and trumpets herald his every entrance; now pacing the shady gardens of the Bosphorus, now foiling, "in his grand quiet way," the Czar's ferocious Christianity, or torturing his baffled ambassador by scornful concession of the points which he formally demanded but did not really want; or crushing with "thin, tight, merciless lips and grand overhanging Canning brow" the presumptuous

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  • Amongst those worst affected by the kind of bombast favoured by the Tories and the Republicans, are the Georgians themselves who may, alas, once more be tempted to think there's more support for them in the west than there is only to discover that this support melts away as soon as it is put to the test, leaving Tbilisi isolated and feeling abandoned.

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