Saturday, August 07, 2004

Blurb Blooper

My 1987 edition of Bill Bryson's delightful Dictionary of Troublesome Words contains this entry for the word fulsome:

Fulsome is one of the most frequently misused words in English. The sense that is usually accorded it--of being copious or lavish or unstinting--is almost the opposite of the word's dictionary meaning. Fulsome is related to foul and means odious or overfull, offensively insincere. "Fulsome praise", properly used, isn't a lavish tribute; it is unctous and insincere toadying.

On the back cover of the book is a blurb from the Guardian newspaper that says that this edition...

Deserves fulsome praise.