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[mass noun] (especially in a literary work) an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous:‘his epic poem has passages of almost embarrassing bathos’‘a nice balance between the colloquial, which might have led to bathos, and an over-polished style’
anticlimax, let-down, disappointment, disillusionmentmawkishness, sentimentalitycomedownView synonyms
- ‘I'm slipping into bathos at record speed here tonight; a function of happiness, I suppose.’
- ‘Next thing you know, they'll be using dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire.’
- ‘But in fact, despite my scientific interest in describing languages as they actually are, I am as free as anyone else to have negative reactions to unintentional bathos or unhelpful confusion caused by bad writing.’
- ‘To Swan's credit, she deftly skirts sentimentality; there is plenty of sentiment, but no bathos.’
- ‘Not everything he does works, but Antopolski deliberately uses anticlimax and bathos in his material.’
Mid 17th century (first recorded in the Greek sense): from Greek, literally depth. The current sense was introduced by Alexander Pope in the early 18th century.
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