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Bombast   /bˈɑmbæst/   Listen
Bombast

noun
1.
Pompous or pretentious talk or writing.  Synonyms: blah, claptrap, fustian, rant.



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"Bombast" Quotes from Famous Books



... what constitutes its excellence. From the nature of the language, all French poetry is purely artificial, and its high polish is all that keeps out decay. The length of their dramatic verse forces the French into much tautology, into bombast in its original meaning, the stuffing out a thought with words till it fills the line. The rigid system of their rhyme, which makes it much harder to manage than in English, has accustomed them to inaccuracies of thought which would shock ...
— Among My Books - First Series • James Russell Lowell

... phase of the situation was taken up and discussed with thoroughness characteristic of these leaders of men, with thoroughness, too, that showed full familiarity with all the conditions of commercialized vice in Chicago. The evasions and bombast wherewith these citizens were accustomed to adorn their public addresses before vice commission inquiries were strangely lacking. They spoke among themselves ...
— Little Lost Sister • Virginia Brooks

... lost.] Vices of Style opposed to the Sublime: Affectation, Bombast, False Sentiment, Frigid Conceits. ...
— On the Sublime • Longinus

... his swagger and bombast, no man ever gave a more futile account of human things than he has done of the Decline and Fall of the ...
— Thomas Carlyle - Biography • John Nichol

... the alchemists was he who is generally known as Paracelsus. He was born about 1493, and died about 1540. It is probable that the place of his birth was Einsiedeln, near Zurich. He claimed relationship with the noble family of Bombast von Hohenheim; but some of his biographers doubt whether he really was connected with that family. His name, or at any rate the name by which he was known, was Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim. His father in alchemy, ...
— The Story of Alchemy and the Beginnings of Chemistry • M. M. Pattison Muir

... manufacture as Thomson required, for the English part of his collection, took the liberty of bestowing a Southron dress on some genuine Caledonian lyrics. The origin of this song may be found in Ramsay's miscellany: the bombast is abated, and the whole ...
— The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. • Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham

... when pure decoration had a religious appeal, these tattered red and white and black banners lend such a gay air to death; these swords and pistols and medals carved into the stone seem almost carrying a bombast to heaven. On one side of each tombstone is the name of its owner, preceded by the legend, "Here lies the slave of God." Do ...
— The Luck of Thirteen - Wanderings and Flight through Montenegro and Serbia • Jan Gordon

... argument with them on the subject, whilst the question, raised amongst their "free and enlightened" brother citizens, who knew nothing of the matter, was certain to bring down upon me such a torrent of bombast, falsehood, and ignorance, as required all my philosophy to submit to with apparent indifference. But I must now take my leave of the American navy, ...
— Diary in America, Series One • Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

... their position, convinced that the features of their faces perpetuated upon the canvas would go down to posterity, they exaggerated somewhat the qualities which are so characteristic of their high and responsible office in our prison. A certain bombast of pose, an exaggerated expression of stern authority, an obvious consciousness of their own importance, and a noticeable contempt for those on whom their eyes were directed—all this disfigured their kind and affable faces. But I cannot understand what horrible features the artist ...
— The Crushed Flower and Other Stories • Leonid Andreyev

... insulting even to Philip's intelligence to insinuate that the Prince would shrink before danger, or die of fear. Had Orange ever been inclined to bombast, he might have answered the churchman's calumny, as Caesar ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... and deliver a five-minute speech ridiculing a speaker who uses bombast, pomposity ...
— The Art of Public Speaking • Dale Carnagey (AKA Dale Carnegie) and J. Berg Esenwein

... the King arose, and sat down again in his chair, and the dean of Westminster wiped and dried all the places anointed, with fine linen, or fine bombast wool, delivered to him by the lord ...
— Coronation Anecdotes • Giles Gossip

... Scotland, by his detestation of what he deemed a fraud, by his dislike for what he heard was Macpherson's private character, and by his prejudice against all unrhymed poetry, whether it was blank verse or rhythmical prose. And yet, his own prose was rhythmical, and often as tumid as the worst bombast in Macpherson. He was too, on the whole, an artificial writer, while the best parts of Ossian are natural. He allowed himself therefore to see distinctly and to characterise severely the bad things in the book—where ...
— The Celtic Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, November 1875 • Various

... childish spell of number; do not talk to me—to me who am to die outright—of societies and peoples! There is no reality, there is no true duration, save that between the cradle and the grave. The rest is mere bombast, show, delusion! They call me a master because of some magic in my speech and thoughts; but I am a frightened child in ...
— Death • Maurice Maeterlinck

... Horses in the kingdom would match them. Homer, after having been very lavish in their praise, has given us their names, and the pedigree of two of them, which it seems were full brothers. He tells us, they were as swift as the wind, and in his bombast** way of writing, says they were immortal; which expression is exactly of the same style and meaning with our modern phrase high-bred, and could mean nothing else, because in the recital of the pedigree, he tells us, they were got by this same North-country ...
— A Dissertation on Horses • William Osmer

... our mouths.' He then goes on in these remarkable words, which we believe every critic thinks were intended for Shakspeare: 'Yes, trust them not; for there is an upstart crow beautified with our feathers, that, with his tiger's heart wrapt in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you; and, being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country.' Again: with this view, the disputed passages—those in which critics ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 449 - Volume 18, New Series, August 7, 1852 • Various

... I hate thy cant! Not eastern bombast, nor the savage rant Of purpled madmen, were they numbered all From Roman Nero, down to Russian Paul, Could grate upon my ear so mean, so base, As the rank jargon of that factious race, Who, poor of heart, and prodigal ...
— Domestic Manners of the Americans • Fanny Trollope

... against his being given to an Anglican refuge. The scene at the mass-meeting to celebrate young Ginx's rescue from the incubus of a delusive superstition is described with rare appreciation of the foibles of character. The bombast, the cant, the flapdoodle and flubdub, the silly unction of different kinds of preachers are "done to a hair." Five hours the meeting raged, and at last a resolution that the Metropolitan pulpit should take up the subject, and the churches take up a collection for the Baby on the next Sunday having ...
— Volume 10 of Brann The Iconoclast • William Cowper Brann

... from the flattering silence with which his speech is received, and the many complimentary expressions with which he is greeted at its close, one would at once conclude that the remarks were new and original. Boasting is an Indian's weak point; given a listener, and the amount of bombast and mock heroics which he will inflict on ...
— Seven and Nine years Among the Camanches and Apaches - An Autobiography • Edwin Eastman

... paraphrase, that had the widest vogue among the good wishes with which the dedicator in the early years of the seventeenth century besought his patron's favour on the first page of his book. But Thorpe was too self-assertive to be a slavish imitator. His addiction to bombast and his elementary appreciation of literature recommended to him the practice of incorporating in his dedicatory salutation some high-sounding embellishments of the accepted formula suggested by his author's writing. {399a} ...
— A Life of William Shakespeare - with portraits and facsimiles • Sidney Lee

... with all the bombast of lyrical emphasis, the invocation terminated in a cry of ardent conviction, quivering with profound poetical emotion, and Sandoz's eyes grew moist; and, to hide how much he felt moved, he added, roughly, with a sweeping gesture that took in ...
— His Masterpiece • Emile Zola

... ideas in grand words and to dress their very ordinary thoughts in the most extraordinary expressions and the most outlandish, artificial, and rarest phrases. Their sentences perpetually stalk about on stilts. With regard to their delight in bombast, and to their writing generally in a grand, puffed-up, unreal, hyperbolical, and acrobatic style, their prototype is Pistol, who was once impatiently requested by Falstaff, his friend, to "say what you have to say, like a man ...
— Essays of Schopenhauer • Arthur Schopenhauer

... plays to the crude taste of the actors and the cruder taste of the public—"is all traceable to their idiot art-masters that intrude themselves as the alchemists of eloquence, who (mounted on the stage of arrogance) think to outbrave better pens with the swelling bombast of bragging blank verse, indeed it may be the ingrafted overflow of some killcow conceit, etc. Among this kind of men that repose eternity in the mouth of a player I can but engross some deep read school men or grammarians, who have no more learning in their ...
— Shakespeare's Lost Years in London, 1586-1592 • Arthur Acheson

... poetic impressiveness. And then the pitfalls which lie about the feet of the Frenchman who has to speak of 1793,—the terrible year of the modern epoch! The delirium of the Terror haunts most of the revolutionary historians, and the choicest examples in all literature of bombast, folly, emptiness, political immorality, inhumanity, formal repudiation of common sense and judgment, are to be found in the rhapsodies which men of letters, some of them men of eminence, call histories of the Revolution, or lives of this or ...
— Studies in Literature • John Morley

... only, if we do not act at once, to draw us to a sudden halt. Now to this meddling Englishman: we have offered him a million—five millions for four. He laughs. He is a millionaire. With characteristic bombast he declares that money has no charms. For six months, since his father's death, we have hounded him, in vain. It is something I can not understand. What is Leopold to these Englishmen that they risk ...
— The Puppet Crown • Harold MacGrath

... carried him far away from historical facts. The author complains in this book that the muse of history cares more for the rulers than for the ruled, and, telling only what is pleasant, ignores the truth when it is unpalatable to kings. After an outburst of bombast he says that no history of England tells us that Charles II. murdered his brother the Duke of Gloucester. We should be surprised if any did do so, as that young man died of small-pox. Hugo, being totally ignorant of English history, seems to have confused ...
— Literary Blunders • Henry B. Wheatley

... speak of my kind of art as 'the noble pursuit of Truth,' and so on. I don't care for such phrases; they may mean something, but as a rule come of the very spirit so opposed to my own—that which feels it necessary to justify art by bombast. The one object I have in life is to paint a bit of the world just as I see it. I exhaust myself in vain toil; I shall never succeed; but I am right to persevere, I am right to go ...
— The Emancipated • George Gissing

... and unnatural fatness; and, when it is in such a state that it would be sent away in disgust from any table, he offers it to the judges. The object of the poetical candidate, in like manner, is to produce, not a good poem, but a poem of that exact degree of frigidity or bombast which may appear to his censors to be correct or sublime. Compositions thus constructed will always be worthless. The few excellences which they may contain will have an exotic aspect and flavour. In general, prize sheep are good for nothing but to make tallow candles, and prize ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 1 (of 4) - Contibutions to Knight's Quarterly Magazine] • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... mancher den Beruf fhlte, sich um sie und die Bhne verdient zu machen, sahe es freilich mit unserer dramatischen Poesie sehr elend aus. Man kannte keine Regeln, man bekmmerte sich um keine Muster. Unsre Staats- und Heldenaktionen waren voller Unsinn, Bombast, Schmutz und Pbelwitz. Unsre Lustspiele bestanden in Verkleidungen und Zaubereien, und Prgel waren die witzigsten Einflle derselben. Dieses Verderbnis einzusehen, brauchte man eben nicht der feinste und grsste Geist zu sein. Auch war Herr Gottsched nicht der ...
— An anthology of German literature • Calvin Thomas

... intact. One should read them again and again, line by line. Ponderous eloquence, fustian bombast, and mouldy pathos combine with the display of pomp, to excite world-wide admiration. This play of well-rehearsed parts is given before an audience of generals, high officials and politicians, and the scene is set at Kiel, that moving pedestal which the King of Prussia inaugurated when ...
— The Schemes of the Kaiser • Juliette Adam

... even without the occasions. When words which have been generally so applied are put together without any rational view, or in such a manner that they do not rightly agree with each other, the style is called bombast. And it requires in several cases much good sense and experience to be guarded against the force of such language; for when propriety is neglected, a greater number of these affecting words may be taken into the service, and a greater variety may ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. I. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... old flatterers, and little noticed their altered language or their graver brow. In a little while, finding they had ceased to be amusing, he effaced their works, not as dangerous, but as dull; and recognized only thenceforward, as art, the innocuous bombast of Michael Angelo, and fluent efflorescence of Bernini. But when you become more intimately and impartially acquainted with the history of the Reformation, you will find that, as surely and earnestly as ...
— Ariadne Florentina - Six Lectures on Wood and Metal Engraving • John Ruskin

... emotions which he communicates with the greatest power; though the melancholy is too dreamy to deserve the name of passion, and the terror of the infinite is not explicitly connected with any religious emotion. It is a proof of the fineness of his taste, that he scarcely ever falls into bombast; we tremble at his audacity in accumulating gorgeous phrases; but we confess that he is justified by the result. The only exception that I can remember is the passage in 'The English Mailcoach,' where his exaggerated patriotism ...
— Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) • Leslie Stephen

... fact was—without phosphorus no thought is possible. We can much more relevantly declare that without thyroid, no thought, no growth, no distinctive humanity or even animality is possible. For the epigram about phosphorus was bombast, since it can be declaimed with equal truth that without oxygen, without carbon, without nitrogen, without any of the food elements that go to make up the chemical composition of brain matter, no thought is possible. Indeed, if one were set upon the indictment of a single chemical element ...
— The Glands Regulating Personality • Louis Berman, M.D.

... one of the belles of W——, and, last evening, he openly avowed that to-day, he should 'carry off Miss Sybil Lamotte, in spite of her high and mighty family, and in the face of all the town.' Of course, no one who heard regarded these things, save as the bombast of a half drunken braggart and liar. To-day, young Evarts and his still wilder chum, encountered him just setting forth with his fine turnout and wonderfully gotten up. They jested on his fine appearance, and for once he evaded their ...
— The Diamond Coterie • Lawrence L. Lynch

... who needed the patronage neither of pope nor prince, and who dared to speak his mind, even against his colleagues. The epigram survived the pontificate of Paul III only in a few rare echoes, while epigraphy continued to flourish till the seventeenth century, when it perished finally of bombast. ...
— The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy • Jacob Burckhardt

... ear, and no polite discourse ever makes allowance for a filthy or sordid expression. Magnificent, noble, and sublime words are to be estimated by their congruity with the subject; for what is magnificent in one place, swells into bombast in another; and what is low in a grand matter, may be proper in a humble situation. As in a splendid style a low word must be very much out of place and, as it were, a blemish to it, so a sublime and pompous expression is unsuited to a subject that is ...
— The Training of a Public Speaker • Grenville Kleiser

... resume his own dress, which he hoped would alter his appearance in such a manner as to baffle all search and examination; while the physician remained ashamed and abashed, to find himself convinced of bombast by a person of such contemptible talents. He was offended at this proof of his memory, and so much enraged at his presumption in exhibiting it, that he could never forgive his want of reverence, and took ...
— The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Volume I • Tobias Smollett



Words linked to "Bombast" :   ornateness, bombastic, claptrap, grandiloquence, magniloquence, rhetoric, grandiosity



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