Definition of fulsome in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfʊls(ə)m/


1Complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree: the press are embarrassingly fulsome in their appreciation
More example sentences
  • And in Congress politics, fulsome flattery and obsequious loyalty play a vital role.
  • If the compliment seems fulsome, it must be remembered that Meres has higher praise and more of it for Shakespeare's fellow Warwickshireman, Michael Drayton.
  • Encouraged by success, he went to Rome, collected rich patrons, and with fulsome flattery won, but failed to keep, the favour of the tyrant Domitian.
enthusiastic, ample, profuse, extensive, generous, liberal, lavish, glowing, gushing, gushy;
excessive, extravagant, overdone, immoderate, inordinate, over-appreciative;
fawning, ingratiating;
adulatory, laudatory, acclamatory, eulogistic, rapturous, flattering, complimentary, effusive, cloying, unctuous, saccharine, sugary, honeyed
informal over the top, OTT, buttery
formal encomiastic
2Of large size or quantity; generous or abundant: the fulsome details of the later legend
More example sentences
  • And, of course, the movie is loaded with details, from the fulsome costumes to the full-scale ships and even to the eventual CGI pirate-into-ghost-pirate transitions.
  • Their reach for notoriety predicated on that fulsome mediocrity of talent detailed above has become frozen in their faces.
  • The discussion is much enhanced by fulsome detail with respect to the politics of building a new program from the ground up and the particular problems of implementing a general mission statement.


Although the earliest use of fulsome (first recorded in the 13th century) was ‘generous or abundant’, this meaning is now regarded by some people as wrong. The correct meaning today is held to be ‘excessively complimentary or flattering’. However, the word is still often used in its original sense of ‘abundant’, especially in sentences such as she was fulsome in her praise for the people who organized it, and this use can give rise to ambiguity: for one speaker, fulsome praise may be a genuine compliment, whereas for others it will be interpreted as an insult.



Pronunciation: /ˈfʊls(ə)mli/
Example sentences
  • Please please please understand that if I cause any offence to anybody, at all, anywhere, I apologise fulsomely and unreservedly.
  • Could it be because he'd already committed himself too squarely and fulsomely to keeping those funds off-limits (the promise Daniels has now said the administration will break)?
  • She said: ‘I was very cross, but David is a very old friend of mine, he has apologised fulsomely and I think that's the end of the matter.’


Pronunciation: /ˈfʊls(ə)mnəs/
Example sentences
  • Well, there is little question about the fulsomeness of his courage, his patriotism, his heroism, his leadership, putting others first.
  • I think we have learned our lesson, to be sufficiently aware of the fulsomeness of life.
  • Aside from the fulsomeness of the introductory language, there does not seem to be much opportunity for comedy here.


Middle English (in the sense 'abundant'): from full1 + -some1.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ful|some

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