Fulsome has multiple definitions, but the most common meaning is “excessive or insincere praise or flattery.” It can also mean “abundant or copious to the point of being excessive or overbearing” and “disgustingly excessive, insincere, or offensive.”


US English

UK English

Part of Speech

Fulsome can be used as an adjective or an adverb.


Excessive, over-the-top, gushing, effusive, insincere, cloying.


Sincere, understated, restrained, moderate, genuine.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun fulsomenesses, fulsomeness
Verb None
Adjective fulsome
Adverb fulsomely

Example Sentences

  • The speaker’s fulsome praise for her boss seemed insincere and over-the-top.

  • The restaurant’s fulsome portions left us feeling uncomfortably full.

  • The politician’s fulsome promises were met with skepticism from the public.

  • I was put off by the salesman’s fulsome flattery and decided not to buy the product.


The word “fulsome” has a complex history and usage, and can sometimes be misunderstood or misused. It originated from the Old English word “fulsǣme,” which meant abundant or plentiful. However, over time, it developed a negative connotation due to its association with excessive or insincere praise.

Today, “fulsome” is often used to describe language or behavior that is overly flattering or exaggerated, and therefore seems insincere or disingenuous. For example, a person might offer fulsome praise to someone they are trying to impress or flatter, but the excessive nature of their compliments can actually backfire and make them seem insincere or manipulative.

However, it’s worth noting that “fulsome” can also be used to describe things that are simply abundant or plentiful without being excessive or overbearing. For example, a meal might be described as “fulsome” if it’s large or plentiful, but not necessarily to the point of being excessive or wasteful.

There are also some variations of the word “fulsome” that have different connotations or meanings. For example, the prefix “un-” can be added to create “unfulsome,” which means lacking in generosity or abundance. Meanwhile, the suffix “-ness” can be added to create “fulsomeness,” which refers to the state or quality of being abundant or excessive.