: characterized by affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration
They did not believe his grandiose claims.
: impressive because of uncommon largeness, scope, effect, or grandeur
had grandiose plans for the city
grandiosely adverb
grandioseness noun
grandiosity noun

Did you know?

When it comes to bigness, there’s grand and then there’s grandiose. Both words can be used to describe something impressive in size, scope, or effect, but while grand may lend its noun a bit of dignity (i.e., “we had a grand time”), grandiose often implies a whiff of pretension. The difference between a grand plan for the city park and a grandiose one, for example, might be the difference between a tasteful fountain and a garden full of topiaries cut in the shapes of 19th century literary figures. So if you’re choosing between the two, a helpful mnemonic might be that the extra letters in grandiose suggest that one’s ideas, claims, promises, schemes, dreams—you get the idea—are a bit extra.

Choose the Right Synonym for grandiose

grand, magnificent, imposing, stately, majestic, grandiose mean large and impressive.

grand adds to greatness of size the implications of handsomeness and dignity.

a grand staircase

magnificent implies an impressive largeness proportionate to scale without sacrifice of dignity or good taste.

magnificent paintings

imposing implies great size and dignity but especially stresses impressiveness.

an imposing edifice

stately may suggest poised dignity, erectness of bearing, handsomeness of proportions, ceremonious deliberation of movement.

the stately procession

majestic combines the implications of imposing and stately and usually adds a suggestion of solemn grandeur.

a majestic waterfall

grandiose implies a size or scope exceeding ordinary experience

grandiose hydroelectric projects

but is most commonly applied derogatorily to inflated pretension or absurd exaggeration.

grandiose schemes

Example Sentences

He was full of grandiose ideas. a grandiose plan to upgrade the entire interstate highway system in 10 years
Recent Examples on the Web To some analysts, Mr. Prigozhin’s flurry of boasts and grandiose projections betray a losing struggle against Russia’s top generals. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2023 This remote park is known predominantly for the grandiose Harding Icefield — the largest in the U.S. — as well as the many coastal fjords. Giovanna Caravetta, Travel + Leisure, 11 Mar. 2023 Naysayers chalk up K-pop acts to pale imitations of Western artists, while the uninitiated disparage the grandiose production as derivative or cliché. Tim Chan, Rolling Stone, 10 Mar. 2023 Lemoine is a supervillain in the least subtle sense, with near-infinite money, insuperable technology and maniacal plans for a grandiose world takeover. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2023 The narcissist often struggles with feelings of emptiness that stem from relying on a false grandiose sense of self that prevents them from being vulnerable. Fortune Well, 3 Mar. 2023 Elevate your company’s purpose to new heights by crafting a grandiose mission statement that inspires and motivates both your team and customers. Chris Kille, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2023 In the last few days, two of the companies that made the most grandiose promises, BP and Shell, have backed away from their pledges about investments in renewable sources such as solar and wind. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2023 Its wonderful central performances, sumptuous score from Miklós Rózsa, and staggeringly surreal dream sequences by one Salvador Dalí are all grandiose and enticing. Wesley Stenzel,, 24 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grandiose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


French, from Italian grandioso, from grande great, from Latin grandis

First Known Use

1818, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of grandiose was in 1818


Dictionary Entries Near grandiose

Cite this Entry

“Grandiose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


gran·​di·​ose ˈgran-dē-ˌōs How to pronounce grandiose (audio)
: impressive because of uncommon largeness, scope, effect, or grandeur
: characterized by deliberately assumed grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration
grandiose schemes
grandiosely adverb
grandiosity noun

Medical Definition


gran·​di·​ose ˈgran-dē-ˌōs How to pronounce grandiose (audio) ˌgran-dē-ˈ How to pronounce grandiose (audio)
: characterized by affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration
a paranoid patient with grandiose delusions
grandiosely adverb
grandiosity noun
plural grandiosities

More from Merriam-Webster on grandiose

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