This series is about obscure words. But it’s not about highly technical words from specialized fields, it’s about words that I read in general fiction or nonfiction books; words that are interesting and that might even be usable.
Earlier words in the series are here
Today’s word is rodomontade.
What does ‘rodomontade’ mean?
According to dictionary.com, rodomontade can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective, but it feels like a noun to me. In any case, the noun means ” vainglorious boasting or bragging ; pretentious, blustering talk “; the verb and adjective have very similar meanings.
Why should you use this word?
Doesn’t it just sound marvelous?
What is the origin of the word “rodomontade”?
This word has a very interesting etymology! The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that “rodomontade’ entered English in the early 17th century and that it comes from Italian , from the characteristics of the character Rodomonte in Orlando Furioso by Ariosto, and that it literally means “one who rolls away the mountain” in colloquial Italian. Per Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Furioso, Orlando Furioso is an Italian romantic epic.
How is “rodomontade” used?
World Wide Words points out that the first use in English was by the great poet John Donne, who said “Challengers cartells, full of Rodomontades” and that Anne Bronte used it in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, writing “She knows what she’s about; but he, poor fool, deludes himself with the notion that she’ll make him a good wife, and because she has amused him with some rodomontade about despising rank and wealth in matters of love and marriage, he flatters himself that she’s devotedly attached to him.”
Wordnik has many examples, including one by the Washington post “The power of poetry, and art in general, to connect us more deeply with ourselves, rather than the empty rodomontade and blather of public life, is fundamental to Merwin’s mix of ecological and personal vision.”
World Wide Words http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-rod1.htm