Rodomontade

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Rodomontade \rod-uh-muhn-TADE; roh-duh-muhn-TAHD\ is a mass noun meaning boastful talk or behavior. The term is a reference to Rodomonte, a character in Italian Renaissance epic poems Orlando innamorato and its sequel Orlando furioso.[1]

Examples of use[edit]

  • A 17th-century example of the term exists in Don Tomazo by Thomas Dangerfield, albeit with a slight alteration of spelling. As the titular protagonist heads towards Cairo with a number of stolen treasures, he is informed by an acquaintance that:
. . . he could, in that heathenish city, command a thousand pound - which was at that time no rodomontado, in regard the jewels were worth above four times the value. [2]
They [the free trappers] pronounced the captain the finest fellow in the world, and his men all bon garçons, jovial lads, and swore they would pass the day with them. They did so, and a day it was, of boast, and swagger, and rodomontade.
  • Another 19th-century example can be found in Thomas Carlyle's 1829 essay Signs of the Times:
We have more Mathematics than ever; but less Mathesis. Archimedes and Plato could not have read the Mécanique Céleste; but neither would the whole French Institute see aught in that saying, "God geometrises!" but a sentimental rodomontade.
  • Rex Stout uses it in the second Nero Wolfe novel, "The League of Frightened Men," (1935), when Wolfe says, "If Mr. Chapin had . . . restrained is impulse to rodomontade . . ."
  • The word, with its alternative spelling (rhodomontade) is quoted in John Lukacs' book Five Days in London May 1940. While describing the tempestuous days of Churchill's first weeks in office, Lukacs quotes Alex Cadogan, a bureaucrat with the Foreign Office, counselling Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax who was complaining that he could no longer work with Churchill. Cadogan said:
Nonsense: his rhodomontades probably bore you as much as they do me, but don't do anything silly under the stress of that.
"Bragging was the vice that was Eichmann's undoing. It was sheer rodomontade when he told his men during the last days of the war: 'I will jump into my grave laughing, because of the fact that I have the death of five million Jews...on my conscience gives me extraordinary satisfaction.' ... [For Eichmann to] claim the death of five million Jews, the approximate total of losses suffered from the combined efforts of all Nazi offices and authorities, was preposterous...."[3]
  • William F. Buckley used the word in a May 29, 1995 column in the National Review entitled "What does Clinton have in mind? - Pres. Clinton's attack on conservative radio broadcasts"; Buckley, asking rhetorically whom Clinton was attacking, cited one theory:
The best those commentators could do who appeared on the MacNeil - Lehrer program was to quote an imprudent remark by Gordon Liddy, but what he said — that if any official came to his house to requisition his pistol, he'd better shoot straight — was more rodomontade than a call to arms or hatred.[4]
  • The term was used by W. Somerset Maugham in 'Of Human Bondage' in Athelny's conversation, over tea, with his daughter's suitor. -
'He (Athelny) addressed himself directly to his guest with a torrent of rhodomontade '.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Definition and history from World Wide Words
  2. ^ Don Tomazo, An Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Fiction, ed. Paul Salzman (Aylesbury: Oxford University Press, 1991), p381.
  3. ^ Arendt, Hannah (1963). Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. New York: Viking Press. pp. 41–42. 
  4. ^ What does Clinton have in mind?, a 1995 National Review column using the term, via FindArticles.com
  5. ^ http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/11/07/051107fa_fact_remnick?currentPage=all