Compliments usually make you feel pretty good, but fulsome compliments, which are exaggerated and usually insincere, may have the opposite effect.

Hundreds of years ago fulsome used to mean "abundant," but now it's more often used to describe an ingratiating manner or an excess of flattery that might provoke an onlooker to mime gagging. If you find fulsome to be a rather clunky word, there are several fun (if vaguely stomach-churning) synonyms, including buttery, oily, oleaginous, and smarmy.

Definitions of fulsome
  1. adjective
    unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech
    “gave him a fulsome introduction”
    synonyms: buttery, oily, oleaginous, smarmy, soapy, unctuous
    lacking sincerity
Commonly confused words

The Story Behind "Fulsome"

Fulsome is an example of a "skunked term," where there is disagreement over conflicting meanings.

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Word Family

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