• rodomontade •
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: Pretentious boasting or bragging; vainglorious bluster, bombastic speech.
Notes: This word isn't heard often today, though the Oxford English Dictionary has two 2003 citations. It is derived from rodomont "braggart, sword-rattler", an equally rare bird, yet the OED reports a 2006 sighting.
In Play: This is the pretentious means of referring to pretentious boasting. Using the word itself is a sort of rodomontade. (Don't you just love words like that?) "The commencement speaker's point was lost behind the absolute rodomontade of his accomplishments that he brandished in the foreground." The same word may be used as an intransitive verb: "Do we have a million deal with Clunker Motors, or it just Minnie van Sayles rodomontading about her marketing prowess again?"
Word History: Today's Good Word was taken directly from French rodomontade "boasting", comprising rodomont "braggart, sword-rattler" + -ade, a noun suffix. The noun originates in Italian rodomonte, a commonization of the name of the blustering Saracen leader in Ariosto's 16th century epic poem, Orlando Furioso.
The suffix is from the Latin feminine past participle ending, -ata, e.g. salata "salted" and armata "armed". It was reduced to -ade or -ada in most Romance languages, as in the English borrowings from those languages, such as marmalade, parade, and serenade. Ballad, which originally referred to a dancing song, started out as French ballade with the same suffix. It is based on Late Latin ballare "to dance", whence also English (dancing) ball and ballet. (Without a trace of rodomontade, we now thank Gene Dubose for recommending today's most excellent Good Word.)
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