Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An abrupt, presumably unintended juxtaposition of the exalted and the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect.
  • noun An anticlimax.
  • noun Insincere or grossly sentimental pathos.
  • noun Banality; triteness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Depth; lowest part or stage; bottom.
  • noun A ludicrous descent from the elevated to the commonplace or ridiculous in writing or speech; a sinking; anticlimax.
  • noun Synonyms Fustian, Turgidness, etc. See bombast.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Rhet.) A ludicrous descent from the elevated to the low, in writing or speech; anticlimax.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Depth, bottom.
  • noun An abrupt change in style, usually from high to low; an unintended transition of style; an anticlimax.
  • noun Triteness; triviality; banality.
  • noun Overly sentimental and exaggerated pathos.

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

  • noun triteness or triviality of style
  • noun a change from a serious subject to a disappointing one
  • noun insincere pathos

Etymologies

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

[Greek, depth, from bathus, deep.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek βάθος (bathos, "depth"). Used metaphorically from 1638 (Robert Sanderson). First used ironically by Pope (Bathos, 1727), in contrast to ὕψος (hypsos, "sublimity").

Examples

  • Longinus's warning against bathos is a dangerous one for those who would take it too much to heart.

    Archive 2010-03-01

  • Longinus's warning against bathos is a dangerous one for those who would take it too much to heart.

    On the Sublime

  • "'Frisco Kid's Story" (Aegis, 15 February 1895) is mawkish and sentimental, a lesson in bathos and in how not to handle dialect (that is, by employing an abundance of it).

    The woe of an aspiring genius.

  • Despite the rad profile, nest was as knee-deep in bathos and bourgeois denial as any other shelter mag.

    Home Alone

  • Despite the rad profile, nest was as knee-deep in bathos and bourgeois denial as any other shelter mag.

    Home Alone

  • I think the correct term is "bathos" - an abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect.

    politicalbetting.com

  • I think the correct term is "bathos" - an abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect.

    politicalbetting.com

  • I think the correct term is "bathos" - an abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect.

    politicalbetting.com

  • Blurb bathos is a killer, because it’s actually really fun and easy to be blurb bathetic in the same way it’s fun and easy to write a bathetic poem.

    About Reviews : Ange Mlinko : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • In less skillful hands, the plot — and there is a good, strong plot — might have foundered in bathos, but Dean adroitly sticks to the high road; although she afflicts her characters with terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, and adultery, these trials, rather than defining the people who suffer them, serve to reveal their fiber.

    New Fiction

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • from the sublime to the ridiculous

    June 22, 2008

  • Life was so much more amusing when I thought the first syllable of this word rhymed with 'bath.' Hrmph.

    October 20, 2008

  • "I never should have used the word bathos"

    December 31, 2008

  • Bay-thoss

    December 31, 2008

  • Yep. /ˈbeɪθɒs, -θɔs, -θoʊs/

    December 31, 2008