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bloviate

Contributor(s): Paul Rand

To bloviate (pronounced BLOW-vee-ayt) is to speak or write overexpansively or with undue grandiosity. It suggests a derivation from to blow, meaning to boast. The term has gained some currency through distribution over Web chat forums and on Web sites. American writer H. L. Mencken, always bordering on bloviation himself, described a less interesting bloviator, President Warren G. Harding, thusly:

He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.
This was last updated in April 2005

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