Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsSlang

Last Word: Bloviate

March 08, 1992

President Harding may have coined bloviate and H. L. Mencken may be the source of Webster III's entry, but both are unlikely.

Harding may have found the word in that great compilation of slanguage, J. S. Farmer and W. E. Henley's (F&H) "Slang and Its Analogues," published between 1890 and 1904. The word is defined as: "verb (American) To talk aimlessly and boastingly; to indulge in 'high falutin'. (A facetious word probably founded on the verb BLOW, sense 1, on the model of 'deviate.') Said to have been in use since 1850." F&H took their entry, without credit, from Barrere and Leland's "A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant," published in 1889.

I like the word because it has the sound of an obsolete aureate word from Shakespeare's day, when aural puns were enjoyed and used. Language should be fun, and only crusty academicians, concerned over its purity, should care how it is used as long as communication occurs.

GENE G. FREEMAN, SANTA ANA

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|