oro·​tund ˈȯr-ə-ˌtənd How to pronounce orotund (audio)
: marked by fullness, strength, and clarity of sound : sonorous
an orotund voice
: pompous, bombastic
an orotund speech
orotundity noun

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An experiment: first breathe in deeply, then try to sing the strongest, lowest note that you can, at the utmost floor of your register. How lovely. Now, what vowel did you sing for your one-syllable song? We’ll bet you a skillet full of bacon it was o. Why? Shaping one’s mouth into an o-shape is pretty much a surefire way to produce an orotund or resonant sound, that is, one that is full, strong, and loud. Try the same exercise with a long e sound, as in sleep, and see (or hear) what we mean. Orotund comes from the Latin phrase ore rotundo, literally meaning "with round mouth." It was adopted into English in the late 18th century to describe the strength of one’s vocal delivery but has since picked up an additional sense of "pompous" or "bombastic" to describe inflated speech that may be full of sound and fury, yet signifies nothing.

Examples of orotund in a Sentence

the tenor's orotund voice was just what this soaring aria needs a master of the orotund prose that is favored by academic journals of literary criticism
Recent Examples on the Web But the extravagance of Tudor self-aggrandizement is almost comical, and it wasn’t limited to the orotund Henry plastering his face onto biblical kings. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 30 Dec. 2022 Novoselov had a boisterous, orotund way of talking that even the interpreter seemed to have trouble making sense of. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 The speaker’s orotund oratory, his mannered put-downs, his mock pretentiousness, his pompous, practiced, often hilarious jawing will be no more. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'orotund.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


modification of Latin ore rotundo, literally, with round mouth

First Known Use

1799, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of orotund was in 1799


Dictionary Entries Near orotund

Cite this Entry

“Orotund.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orotund. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

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