noun bo·va·rism \ˈbōvəˌrizəm\
variants: or


Definition of bovarism



  1. :  a conception of oneself as other than one is to the extent that one's general behavior is conditioned or dominated by the conception; especially :  domination by such an idealized, glamorized, glorified, or otherwise unreal conception of oneself that it results in dramatic personal conflict (as in tragedy), in markedly unusual behavior (as in paranoia), or in great achievement

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of bovarism

French bovarysme, from Madame Bovary (principal character in the novel Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert †1880 French novelist) + -isme -ism

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bovarism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a brief usually trivial fact

Get Word of the Day daily email!