29 December 2008

Faint Praise

We often see the term fulsome praise used to indicate abundant approval or admiration. The problem is, fulsome doesn't mean that at all. Rather, the word means "flattering to an excessive degree," according to the Oxford American Dictionary. Thus, fulsome praise "isn't a lavish tribute," explains Bill Bryson in his excellent Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors, "it is unctuous and insincere toadying."

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