An Introduction to Bomphiologia

Bomphiologia (also known as verborum bombus, from Greek, literally “booming, buzzing words”), refers to a speech with inflated words, in which the speaker uses pompous and bombastic languages for things of little magnitude.

Thus Bomphiologia consists when a speaker speaks of himself in a pompous, and self-aggrandizing manner. Bomphiologia may also refer to various grotesque and inflated details of the description of given scenarios in epic poetry.

Bomphiologia with its comedic potential, may be employed to add comedic effect in literary works. Edgar Allan PoeOpens in new window, in this respect, strikingly featured this figure as one of his various styles. An instance of this; is the excerpt below:

  • two cats … alighting opposite one another on my visage, betook themselves to indecorous contention for the paltry consideration of my nose.
    —(“Loss of Breath,” 2:159)

The words might have been penned, simply, “two cats fought over my nose.” Instead, Poe presents a rather indepth version of style which showcase the personality of his narrator. The resulting effect is the part of the audience, cognizant that the narrator actually succumbs to exaggeration in his narrating technique.

Further Readings:
Wikipedia | BomphiologiaOpens in new window
Silva Rhetoricae | BomphiologiaOpens in new window
Brett Zimmerman | Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric & Style | BomphiologiaOpens in new window