A word that rolls into its roundness the sound of blowing (‘souffler’), conveying something of its meaning: to swell, puff up, or in the case of paint, to blister.

It can also be a reflexive verb, ‘se boursoufler’, and the noun is twofold: ‘boursouflage’ or ‘boursouflement’, both masculine.

I like that the adjective (‘boursouflé’) can be used to describe something bombastic, pompous or turgid.  Next time you’re at a dinner party in London or New York, show off your French chic by damning something as ‘a tad boursouflé…’

You’ll never be invited again.


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