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[bom-bast] /ˈbɒm bæst/
speech too pompous for an occasion; pretentious words.
Obsolete. cotton or other material used to stuff garments; padding.
Obsolete, bombastic.
Origin of bombast
1560-70; earlier bombace padding < Middle French < Medieval Latin bombācem, accusative of bombāx; see bombax family Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bombast
  • And during that decade, no bluster or bombast was necessary.
  • Outsiders face a mix of bombast about these new business lines and wobbliness.
  • The hype that afflicts the software industry is nothing, compared with biotech's bombast.
  • He delivers his stories with self-mythologising bombast.
  • Along with the bombast was some truly original and prescient thinking.
  • While less talented colleagues captured attention through bombast and irony, he kept a low profile.
  • Good, balanced coverage,admirably free of prolixity and bombast.
  • It is easy to dismiss the subject with glib gibes or to enshrine it in sentimental bombast.
  • They resolved to make the move with plenty of bombast and the help of customers and friends.
  • Ultimately, all the philosophical bombast is outweighed by generous helpings of mind-blown comedy.
British Dictionary definitions for bombast


pompous and grandiloquent language
(obsolete) material used for padding
Derived Forms
bombastic, adjective
bombastically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Old French bombace, from Medieval Latin bombāx cotton; see bombacaceous
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 bombast

1560s, "cotton padding," corrupted from earlier bombace (1550s), from Old French bombace "cotton, cotton wadding," from Late Latin bombacem, accusative of bombax "cotton, 'linteorum aut aliae quaevis quisquiliae,' " a corruption and transferred use of Latin bombyx "silk," from Greek bombyx "silk, silkworm" (which also came to mean "cotton" in Medieval Greek), from some oriental word, perhaps related to Iranian pambak (modern panba) or Armenian bambok, perhaps ultimately from a PIE root meaning "to twist, wind." From stuffing and padding for clothes or upholstery, meaning extended to "pompous, empty speech" (1580s).

Also from the same source are Swedish bomull, Danish bomuld "cotton," and, via Turkish forms, Modern Greek mpampaki, Rumanian bumbac, Serbo-Croatian pamuk. German baumwolle "cotton" is probably from the Latin word but altered by folk-etymology to look like "tree wool." Polish bawełna, Lithuanian bovelna are partial translations from German.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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