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

  • adj. Exceedingly lofty or exalted: high-flown ideas about the history of Christianity.
  • adj. Highly pretentious or inflated: high-flown rhetoric.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. pretentiously eloquent; highly figurative
  • adj. lofty, extravagant, refined

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Elevated; proud.
  • adj. Turgid; extravagant; bombastic; inflated.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Raised to a high pitch; elevated; elated.
  • Enthusiastic; extravagant; bombastic.

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

  • adj. pretentious (especially with regard to language or ideals)
  • adj. of high moral or intellectual value; elevated in nature or style


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • He collects antique Samurai swords, has owned a pet cobra and speaks with a high-flown Massachusetts Brahmin accent.

    The Artlessness Of Art Thieves

  • The day after President Obama's big yearly speech to Congress and the American people, most pundits and talking-head types in the media are vying to outdo each other on stating "what it all means" or similar high-flown overanalysis.

    Chris Weigant: Obama's New Ideas

  • You sense that he doesn't relish conversation about high-flown topics such as the role of the artist in society—maybe because he now shuns the obvious rhetorical gesture in his speech just as he does in his art.

    For Baldessari, Art Imitates Art

  • Ms. Albers explains attractions and aesthetic influences in terms of high-flown parallels.

    A Fiercely Gifted Artist

  • Grayling does himself no favors with his foreword, here called an Epistle, which is written in such a grand, high-flown style and with such immodest ambition "its aspiration and aim the good for humanity and the good of the world" that a casual reader might even call it a sin of pride.

    Michael Giltz: The Bible 2.0? A Humanist Bible Lays Down The Gauntlet

  • In other words, you can say anything you want out on the campaign trail, in as high-flown language as you'd like to use; but once the shouting is all over, it's often very hard (if not impossible) to make good on these promises when confronted with the way Washington actually works.

    Chris Weigant: Tea Partiers Should Prepare for Disappointment

  • This show sees Rosenthal tackling his privileged status – as well as that of everyone in the developed world – in an hour that touches on base crudity and high-flown philosophy in equal measure.

    This week's new comedy: Edinburgh special

  • The women who fell for his high-flown talk of "triangular mutuality" might have been less pleased to learn that Jane was his true love and that he thought of sex as recreation, on a par with tennis or badminton.

    A Man of Parts by David Lodge – review

  • De Mole in Sunnyside, Queens, has earned high-flown accolades for its Mexican fare.

    Michelin-Ranked Mexican Cuisine

  • That question actually came about as I was reading Scott Bakker's "The Judging Eye", which struck me as almost excruciatingly high-flown and verbose, a cataract of metaphoric language (I'm talking almost every single line of text here, literally!) and philosophical assertions, which seems to me would be extremely difficult to parse, if indeed there is any underlying common structure to the book's language ...

    Modality and Hamlet


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