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[bey-thos, -thaws, -thohs] /ˈbeɪ θɒs, -θɔs, -θoʊs/
a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax.
insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness.
triteness or triviality in style.
1630-40; < Greek: depth
Can be confused
bathos, pathos.
2. maudlinness, tearfulness; mush, gush, schmaltz. 3. insipidity, inanity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bathos
  • But there is nothing but excess, self-indulgence and bathos.
  • And in reading their requests the bathos of the ultimate penalty is impossible to ignore.
  • The film is an unqualified delight, never descending into sloppy sentiment or boggy bathos.
  • In essence, it is this portion of the drama that is often awash in the sudsy waves of bathos.
  • It does slop over into bathos with increasing frequency near the end, but each time it recovers itself.
  • The pathos and the bathos of it beat anything ever heard before or since.
  • There is no bathos and there are plenty of amusing incidents to relieve the tension.
  • Too bad that this enjoyable and provocative book should end on a note of bathos.
  • The bathos and the pathos all rolled into one big scene staged before me on the tube and playing out in my mind.
  • The saga of this family brings forth so much indescribable empathy and bathos.
British Dictionary definitions for bathos


a sudden ludicrous descent from exalted to ordinary matters or style in speech or writing
insincere or excessive pathos
triteness; flatness
the lowest point; nadir
Word Origin
C18: from Greek: depth, from bathus deep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bathos

"anticlimax, a descent from the sublime to the ridiculous," 1727, from Greek bathos "depth," related to bathys "deep" (see benthos). Introduced by Pope.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for bathos

(from Greek bathys, "deep"), unsuccessful, and therefore ludicrous, attempt to portray pathos in art, i.e., to evoke pity, sympathy, or sorrow. The term was first used in this sense by Alexander Pope in his treatise Peri Bathous; or, The Art of Sinking in Poetry (1728). Bathos may result from an inappropriately dignified treatment of the commonplace, the use of elevated language and imagery to describe trivial subject matter, or from such an exaggeration of pathos (emotion provoked by genuine suffering) as to become overly sentimental or ridiculous.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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