Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Bloviate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is bloviate. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Bloviate means “to speak or write verbosely and windily.”

// The columnist tends to bloviate on topics about which he is not particularly knowledgeable.

BLOVIATE in Context

“The excerpt itself relates to … a perpetual clock that ticked off precise measures of time, to keep orators in the Roman Senate from bloviating past their allotted speaking period.” — Caitlin Lovinger, The New York Times, 10 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

Warren G. Harding is often linked to bloviate, but to him the word wasn’t insulting; it simply meant “to spend time idly.” Harding used the word often in that “hanging around” sense, but during his tenure as the 29th U.S. President (1921-23), he became associated with the “verbose” sense of bloviate, perhaps because his speeches tended to the long-winded side. Although he is sometimes credited with having coined the word, it’s more likely that Harding picked it up from local slang while hanging around with his boyhood buddies in Ohio in the late 1800s. The term probably derives from a combination of the word blow plus the suffix -ate.

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