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1845,[1][2] US, Ohio,[3] from blow (speak idly, boast) + -i- +‎ -ate, by analogy with deviate.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbloʊ.viˌeɪt/
  • (file)


bloviate (third-person singular simple present bloviates, present participle bloviating, simple past and past participle bloviated)

  1. (intransitive, US) To speak or discourse at length in a pompous or boastful manner.
    • 1845 October 14, Huron Reflector, Norwalk, Ohio:
      Peter P. Low, Esq., will with open throat…bloviate about the farmers being taxed upon the full value of their farms, while bankers are released from taxation.
    • 1887, James O'Meara, The Vigilance Committee of '56[1]:
      His passion when bloviating was furious and terrible to look upon; but there was nothing to it more than sound and pretense.
    • 2012 May 31, Clyde Haberman, quoting George F. Will, “Trying to Solve the Great Trump Mystery”, in New York Times:
      “The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me,” he said on “This Week,” the ABC News program.
    • 2023 April 29, Lou Stoppard, “Inside the world of the elite nanny”, in FT Weekend:
      And in turn, more complex ones: could his son have become Boris Johnson, bloviating commentator and one-time prime minister of Britain, without one [a nanny]?

Usage notes[edit]

Particularly used of politicians, bloviate has passed in and out of fashion over the centuries, falling out of fashion by end of 19th century, but was popularized in the early 1920s with reference to president Warren G. Harding, again in the 1990s,[3] and again during the 2000 presidential election.[4] Its usage has increased since then.[5]


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See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
  2. 2.0 2.1 In Defense of Harding the Bloviator”, Ben Zimmer, Word Routes: Exploring the Pathways of our Lexicon, July 29, 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michael Quinion (March 13, 1999), “Bloviate”, in World Wide Words.
  4. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “bloviate”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  5. ^ bloviate at Google Ngram Viewer
  • Allan A. Metcalf (2004), Presidential voices: speaking styles from George Washington to George W. Bush, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, “Once More the Bloviator”, pp. 134–135, →ISBN