Thursday, October 8, 2015

New Word Thursday: rodomontade

I have transformed New Word Wednesday into New Word Thursday (a more alliterative name might be on the way) in part so I could use Wednesday's slot to direct you, dear reader, to my new weekly column at, and in part to give myself some breathing room so I don't have to have two posts ready every Wednesday.

If you didn't catch the column yesterday, you really ought to go read it. I'm generally a humble guy, but yesterday's "Death, Destruction, and Word Choice" really is the best blog post about decimate, annihilate, obliterate, and devastate that ever was or ever shall be. Amen. My mother really loved it. Yours did, too.

Rodomonte defending the bridge; illustration b...
Rodomonte defending the bridge. Illustration by Gustave Dore (Wikipedia). You should see what I can do with a strong horse and a narrow bridge.

That previous paragraph was an example of today's word, rodomontade. Rodomontade belongs to a class of words that, without alteration, can be used as a noun, a verb, and an adjective. It means (n) "boastful speech," (v)"to boast or brag," and (adj) "pretentiously boastful." It seems to be most often used as a noun, though.

It also belongs to a much smaller class of words that derive from the name of a fictional character. In this case, the eponymous character is Rodomonte, an arrogant Saracen leader in Matteo Boiardo's late-fifteenth-century epic poem Orlando Innamorato and in Ludovico Ariosto's sixteenth-century follow-up, Orlando Furioso.

These two epic Italian poems are good, sure, but they couldn't hold a candle to the Logophilius blog taken as a whole.

Sorry. Just thought you'd like another example of rodomontade to drive it home.