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From Old French bombace (cotton, cotton wadding)


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bombast (countable and uncountable, plural bombasts)

  1. Originally, cotton, or cotton wool.
    • Lupton
      a candle with a wick of bombast
  2. Cotton, or any soft, fibrous material, used as stuffing for garments; stuffing; padding.
    • Shakespeare
      How now, my sweet creature of bombast!
    • Stubbes
      doublets, stuffed with four, five, or six pounds of bombast at least
  3. (figuratively) High-sounding words; a pompous or ostentatious manner of writing or speaking; language above the dignity of the occasion.
    • Dryden
      Yet noisy bombast carefully avoid.
    • 1898, William Graham Sumner, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain”, in War and Other Essays, Yale, published 1911, page 331:
      Upon a little serious examination the off-hand disposal of an important question of policy by the declaration that Americans can do anything proves to be only a silly piece of bombast.
    • 2017 March 1, Anthony Zurcher, “Trump addresses Congress: A kinder, gentler president”, in BBC News[1]:
      At least for one night, Donald Trump put aside the bombast and bellicosity of a campaign that seemed to bleed into his presidency.



bombast (third-person singular simple present bombasts, present participle bombasting, simple past and past participle bombasted)

  1. To swell or fill out; to pad; to inflate.
    • 1839, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coleridge's Literary Remains, Volume 4.[2]:
      Ib. Their doctrine is to be seen in Jacob Behmen's books by him that hath nothing else to do, than to bestow a great deal of time to understand him that was not willing to be easily understood, and to know that his bombasted words do signify nothing more than before was easily known by common familiar terms.
    • 2013, Christianna Brand, What Dread Hand?: A Collection of Short Stories
      The ugly truth is, Gerald,' she said viciously, 'that you're a phoney, a rotten, bombasting phoney, trying to cover up from all the world, []


bombast (comparative more bombast, superlative most bombast)

  1. High-sounding; inflated; big without meaning; magniloquent; bombastic.
    • Shakespeare
      [He] evades them with a bombast circumstance, / Horribly stuffed with epithets of war.
    • Cowley
      Nor a tall metaphor in bombast way.