Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A brief publicity notice, as on a book jacket.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A short description of a book, film, musical work, or other product written and used for promotional purposes.
  • v. To write or quote something in a blurb

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a promotional statement (as found on the dust jackets of books)

Etymologies

Coined by Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), American humorist.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Coined by American humorist Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) on a book dust jacket at a trade association dinner in 1907. It said “YES, this is a “BLURB”!” and featured a (fictitious) “Miss Belinda Blurb” shown calling out, described as “in the act of blurbing”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • David Crystal writes about the origin of blurb in By Hook or By Crook. Crystal tells the Gelett Burgess story and writes: "In a little wordbook he wrote a few years later, he defined his own term:
    1 A flamboyant advertisement; an inspired testimonial.
    2 Fulsome praise; a sound like a publisher."
    (Crystal, p 25)

    I like the second one!

    December 15, 2008

  • According to Wikipedia entry under "Gelett Burgess":

    The word "blurb", meaning a short description of a book, film, or other product written for promotional purposes, was coined by Burgess in 1907, in attributing the cover copy of his book, Are You a Bromide?, to a Miss Belinda Blurb. His definition of "blurb" is "a flamboyant advertisement; an inspired testimonial".

    June 19, 2007

  • Apparently, the first recorded use of this word was in 1907 in an American comic book. The cover featured a buxom young lady with the name Miss Blinda Blurb. Blurb became the term for the eye-catching advertisement on a book jacket.

    February 8, 2007

  • Would you use this interchangably with précis? I'm fine with having an English version of a French word that almost nobody will be able to pronounce correctly, but blurb is a little too prosaic.

    December 3, 2006

  • sounds like suburb, or worse yet, sub-blurb

    December 3, 2006

  • Modern life is one short bite-sized piece of information after another. The internet, symbol of the age, is designed to actively fire information at our passive eyes. Yet more so the television. On the back of books, those edifices which we once thought would weather the storm of the information age, are those brief, digestible, active and aggresive things which sum this whole sorry state up.

    December 3, 2006