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pom•pos•i•ty(pɒmˈpɒs ɪ ti)
n., pl. -ties.
blimp A pompous reactionary; a dyed-in-the-wool Tory. This British colloquialism was given us by cartoonist David Low and his creation Colonel Blimp, whose name and figure clearly derive from the air-filled dirigibles of the same name.
cock of the walk A leader; the ruling spirit of a group, especially one who is dominating and cocksure. Gamecocks being trained for fighting are put out on a walk with a small group of hens. Here the fighting instinct is developed to the point where one gamecock cannot stand the presence of another. Two placed together will fight to the death. Recorded use of the phrase dates only from the early 19th century, but it is likely that the expression was used long before then.
fuss and feathers See OSTENTATIOUSNESS.
high-muck-a-muck See PERSONAGE.
his nibs See PERSONAGE.
mugwump See INDEPENDENCE.
pooh bah A pompous individual. Pooh Bah, a character in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (1885), derived a feeling of superiority from the many positions he held. A few of his titles included “First Lord of the Treasury,” “Lord Chief Justice,” “Commander in Chief,” and the all-inclusive “Lord-High-Everything-Else.” Thus pooh bah is currently used of any self-important person who holds several positions at once.
the pope’s mustard maker A pretentious, self-important person. This expression originated in the 14th-century Avignon court of Pope John XXII. The pontiff, whose propensity for luxurious living and exquisite dining was common knowledge throughout Europe, had a particular fondness for mustard seasoning and required all his meals to be so spiced. In order to guarantee that the spicing was done properly, the pope created the office of Moutardier ‘mustard maker,’ which he bestowed upon his nephew. The nephew was so enthralled with the glamor and dignity of the position that he eventually became the target of satire and droll witticisms. The expression Moutardier du Pape ‘the pope’s mustard maker’ is still commonly used in France for a pompous person.
too big for one’s britches Smart-alecky, wise, presumptuous, arrogant, swell-headed; also too big for one’s breeches, boots, etc.
When a man gets too big for his breeches, I say Good-bye. (David Crockett, An Account of Col. Crockett’s Tour to the North and down East, 1835)
A person who has an inordinately high opinion of himself is said to have a swelled head. The same concept underlies this expression in spite of the different point of reference.
|Noun||1.||pomposity - lack of elegance as a consequence of being pompous and puffed up with vanity|
inelegance - the quality of lacking refinement and good taste