Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Levels of Distractibility: Who cares? = *. Some people will be distracted from your meaning: = **. Many people will be distracted from your meaning: = ***.

Question: I've heard the word "fulsome." Does it mean "full of"?

Answer: In general, yes, but overdone and effusive as in "fulsome praise." It's not a compliment. The word "fulsome" can also mean offensive as in "Max Goldman in the movie Grumpy Old Men encounters a fulsome odor thanks to the fish deposited in his car by his neighbor John Gustafson." However, that meaning is no longer common; it's out of date. You'll still see it or hear it in that sense, though. Generally, the word "fulsome" means "overdone," "too much."

Rating of Distractibility: **. People who still cling to the early meaning of "fulsome" as "offensive" will think you are wrong when you use it to mean overdone. Best to avoid the word unless it is the absolute perfect word for your meaning. I would write around it. "Fulsome praise" becomes, "flattery."

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