The following is from a recent Toronto Star editorial about a Supreme Court of Canada case on free speech:
“In an on-air commentary, Rafe Mair, an ex-politician turned bloviator for a Vancouver radio station, compared Kari Simpson, an anti-gay activist, to Hitler, among others. She sued him on the grounds that his remarks suggested she condones violence against gays and were, therefore, defamatory. The British Columbia court of appeal sided with the plaintiff, but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling. …
“That’s good news for talk-show hosts, newspaper columnists, bloggers … and editorial writers.”
I had certainly heard the word bloviate before, and, given the context in which it was used, I was pretty sure I knew what it meant. But, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it used in print. What I wondered was whether it’s a relatively new word — like blog and blogosphere — that’s now made its way into common usage — or at least common enough for use in editorials.
So I looked it up. According to Merriam-webster.com, bloviate means “to speak or write verbosely and windily”. The definition didn’t surprse me; what did, however, was that it is hardly a new word. Indeed, according to Merriam-webster.com it is “circa 1879”. So, I guess we can’t blame talk radio and the Internet for creating bloviators — just for giving them a more wide-reaching forum.