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What is the definition of bombast?

The definition of bombast is a particular style of speech or writing that is pretentious, hyperbolic, and full of extravagant language.

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Last Updated May 26, 2023.

In literature, the term "bombast" refers to a style of writing characterized by grandiose, exaggerated, and inflated language or speech. Bombast often employs excessive adjectives, hyperbolic statements, and elaborate metaphors to create an atmosphere of grandeur or importance. It involves using high-flown, pompous, or pretentious expressions to impress or dazzle the audience.

An example of a bombast can be found in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth. In Act 1, Scene 7, Macbeth contemplates assassinating King Duncan to seize the throne. As he wrestles with his conscience, he delivers a soliloquy filled with bombastic language:

"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly: if the assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch With his surcease success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, We'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases We still have judgment here; that we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips."

In this excerpt, Macbeth uses bombastic language to emphasize the weight and significance of his decision. He employs phrases such as "trammel up the consequence," "the be-all and the end-all," and "bloody instructions" to elevate the gravity of the situation. The excessive and dramatic language captures Macbeth's internal struggle and adds theatricality to the scene.

see: hyperbole

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