Definition

Pompous refers to behavior, speech or attitude that is marked by an excessive display of dignity, self-importance or exaggerated show of importance.

Pronunciation

US English

UK English

Part of speech

Adjective.

Synonyms

grandiose, pretentious, arrogant, haughty, highfalutin, bombastic, overbearing, egotistical, supercilious, narcissistic.

Antonyms

Unassuming, humble, modest, meek, simple, unpretentious, modest, natural, down-to-earth.

Example sentences

  • His pompous behavior and arrogant attitude made it difficult for him to make friends at the workplace.
  • The keynote speaker’s pompous speech bored the audience with its overly complex vocabulary and phrasing.
  • The politician’s pompous tone and grandiose promises failed to convince the audience that his plans were realistic.
  • Her pompous style of dressing, complete with designer labels and excessive accessories, made her appear ostentatious and showy.

Usage

The adjective pompous is often used to describe people who behave in a grandiose, self-important or arrogant manner. The word typically carries negative connotations, and is often used to criticize individuals who are full of themselves, boastful or overbearing. Pompous people are often seen as conceited or pretentious, and their behavior is often regarded as excessive or insincere.

The origins of the word pompous can be traced back to the Latin word “pompa”, which means “procession” or “display.” Its prefix - “pomp-”- refers to a highly formal, ceremonial or ostentatious style, while the suffix -“ous” denotes fullness, possessing, or being of a kind of things.

There are several variations and related words that contain the root “pomp-” or “-pous,” such as pomp, pompously, pomposity or pomposness. These words usually carry similar meanings to that of pompous, emphasizing a shallow view of oneself or an over-the-top attitude of grandeur.

The word pompous is often used in literature, film, and other artistic works to portray characters who display excessive self-importance or self-indulgence. In everyday speech, people may use this word to criticize individuals who come across as pretentious, pompous, or vain. The usage of this word and its related words signifies a certain level of negatively judging someone’s behavior or attitude, and oftentimes serves as a warning to them to change their behavior to achieve greater social acceptance