Bombast

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on March 17, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 137

Bombast - originally, cotton or any soft material used for padding to produce clothes in the fashion of the Sixteenth Century. It has come to mean a highflown unnatural style, rather inflated and insincere, pretentious, ranting, and using extravagant language. Also, it can denote extravagance at the expense of content.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Guide to Literary Terms Study Guide

Subscribe Now

The word is from the Greek bombux, meaning “silkworm” or “silk,” and the Latin bombyx, meaning “silkworm,” “something made of silk, any fine fiber, or cotton.” Both were used to form the Old French bombace, meaning “cotton.”

In Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago uses the word in complaining to Roderigo about Othello:

But he, as loving of his own pride and purposes,

Evades them with a bombast circumstance
Horribly stuff’d with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion,
Nonsuits my mediators.
Act 1, scene 1 : lines 13 – 17

see: hyperbole


Explore all literary terms.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial
Previous

Blank Verse

Next

Canon

Explore Study Guides