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Definition of "bathos" [ba•thos]

  • An abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect. (noun)
  • An anticlimax. (noun)
  • Insincere or grossly sentimental pathos: "a richly textured man who . . . can be . . . sentimental to the brink of bathos” ( Kenneth L. Woodward). (noun)
  • Banality; triteness. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "bathos" in a sentence
  • "Longinus's warning against bathos is a dangerous one for those who would take it too much to heart."
  • ""'Frisco Kid's Story" (Aegis, 15 February 1895) is mawkish and sentimental, a lesson in bathos and in how not to handle dialect (that is, by employing an abundance of it)."
  • "Despite the rad profile, nest was as knee-deep in bathos and bourgeois denial as any other shelter mag."