fulsome

fulsomely, adv.fulsomeness, n.
/fool"seuhm, ful"-/, adj.
1. offensive to good taste, esp. as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor.
2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive: a table heaped with fulsome mounds of greasy foods.
3. excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome admiration.
4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America.
5. abundant or copious.
[1200-50; ME fulsom. See FULL1, -SOME1]
Usage. In the 13th century when it was first used, FULSOME meant simply "abundant or copious." It later developed additional senses of "offensive, gross" and "disgusting, sickening," probably by association with FOUL, and still later a sense of excessiveness: a fulsome disease; a fulsome meal, replete with too much of everything. For some centuries FULSOME was used exclusively, or nearly so, with these unfavorable meanings.
Today, both FULSOME and FULSOMELY are also used in senses closer to the original one: The sparse language of the new Prayer Book contrasts with the fulsome language of Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer. Later they discussed the topic more fulsomely. These uses are often criticized on the grounds that FULSOME must always retain its connotations of "excessive" or "offensive." The common phrase fulsome praise is thus sometimes ambiguous in modern use.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • fulsome — 1. The first meaning of fulsome was ‘copious, abundant’, but it had lost this along with other meanings by the 16c and acquired an unfavourable sense ‘excessive, cloying’, especially with reference to praise or flattery. This meaning remained the …   Modern English usage

  • fulsome — fulsome, oily, unctuous, oleaginous, slick, soapy are comparable when they mean too obviously extravagant or ingratiating to be accepted as genuine or sincere. Fulsome stresses a surfeit of something which in proper measure is not displeasing but …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Fulsome — Ful some, a. [Full, a. + some.] 1. Full; abundant; plenteous; not shriveled. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] His lean, pale, hoar, and withered corpse grew fulsome, fair, and fresh. Golding. [1913 Webster] 2. Offending or disgusting by overfullness, excess …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fulsome — ► ADJECTIVE 1) complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree. 2) of large size or quantity; generous or abundant: fulsome details. DERIVATIVES fulsomely adverb fulsomeness noun. USAGE Although the earliest sense of fulsome was ‘abundant’,… …   English terms dictionary

  • fulsome — M.E. compound of ful full (see FULL (Cf. full) (adj.)) + som (see SOME (Cf. some)). Sense evolved from abundant, full (mid 13c.) to plump, well fed (mid 14c.) to overgrown, overfed (1640s) and thus, of language, offensive to taste or good manners …   Etymology dictionary

  • fulsome — [fool′səm] adj. [ME fulsom, abundant, disgustingly excessive < ful, FULL1 + som, SOME1, but infl. by ful, FOUL] 1. disgusting or offensive, esp. because excessive or insincere [fulsome praise] 2. [apparent revival …   English World dictionary

  • fulsome — index arrant (onerous), bad (inferior), bad (offensive), contemptible, detrimental, excessive …   Law dictionary

  • fulsome — [adj] sickening or excessive behavior adulatory, bombastic, buttery*, canting, cloying, coarse, extravagant, fawning, flattering, glib, grandiloquent, hypocritical, immoderate, ingratiating, inordinate, insincere, magniloquent, mealy mouthed*,… …   New thesaurus

  • fulsome — adjective Etymology: Middle English fulsom copious, cloying, from full + som some Date: 13th century 1. a. characterized by abundance ; copious < describes in fulsome detail G. N. Shuster > < fulsome bird life. The feeder overcrowded Maxine Kumin …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • fulsome — ful•some [[t]ˈfʊl səm, ˈfʌl [/t]] adj. 1) offensive to good taste, esp. as being excessive; overdone: fulsome décor[/ex] 2) disgusting; sickening; repulsive: fulsome mounds of greasy foods[/ex] 3) cvb excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome… …   From formal English to slang

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