More Fulsome

My entry for the word “fulsome” in my book says this:
In modern usage, “fulsome” has two inconsistent meanings. To some people it means “offensive, overdone,” so “fulsome praise” to them would be disgustingly exaggerated praise. 
To other people it means “abundant,” and for them “fulsome praise” is glowingly warm praise.
The first group tends to look down on the second group, and the second group tends to be baffled by the first. Best to just avoid the word altogether.
But now I have to add another note. Representative Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform panel, responded to President Trump’s criticisms of Robert Mueller ’s investigation of his campaign's connections with Russia by saying, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible.”

Gowdy not only thinks the word has positive connotations, he thinks it’s a synonym for “thorough.”

It’s easy to see how that first syllable would lead someone to think that it is an apt label for an investigation that will go fully into the facts. Now that it’s all over the news, I suppose we’ll be hearing more of it.

No comments: