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[jon-suh-neez, -nees] /ˌdʒɒn səˈniz, -ˈnis/
a literary style characterized by rhetorically balanced, often pompous phraseology and an excessively Latinate vocabulary: so called from the style of writing practiced by Samuel Johnson.
Origin of Johnsonese
First recorded in 1835-45; Johnson + -ese Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Johnsonese
Historical Examples
  • When he wrote for publication, he did his sentences out of English into Johnsonese.

  • The literary style of Mary Wollstonecraft's book is Johnsonese, but its thought forms the base of all that has come after.

  • What sort of an appearance would they present when furnished in a blend of Johnsonese and his own stheticism?

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • Sebastian, for his part, might have found some difficulty in translating into Johnsonese the twisted asceticism of Stuart Heron.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • I read my Johnson and Locke that winter and tried to write a little in the Johnsonese buckram style.

  • The stuffed buckram of Johnsonese had been succeeded by the mincing hifalutin of Mrs. Anne Radcliffe and her like.

    Washington Irving Henry W. Boynton
  • When he wrote for publication he did his sentences out of English into Johnsonese.

    Macaulay's Life of Samuel Johnson Thomas Babington Macaulay
  • But her adventures are told in a style which is the oddest compound of Romantesque and Johnsonese.

    The English Novel George Saintsbury

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