[bey-thos, -thaws, -thohs]


a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax.
insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness.
triteness or triviality in style.

Origin of bathos

1630–40; < Greek: depth
Can be confusedbathos pathos

Synonyms for bathos Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bathos

mush, comedown, schmaltz, letdown, anticlimax, melodrama

Examples from the Web for bathos

Contemporary Examples of bathos

  • Rather like the way of life it celebrates, The Radetzky March hinges on trivia and bathos more than any real grand gesture.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Favorite Historical Novels

    Stella Tillyard

    November 9, 2011

Historical Examples of bathos

  • It was an anti-climax, a bathos, of which St. Augustine is seldom guilty.

    My New Curate

    P.A. Sheehan

  • There is sometimes, too, a falling off, not far removed from the Bathos.

  • One of their favourite blunders is an amazing sort of bathos.

    Utopia of Usurers and other Essays

    Gilbert Keith Chesterton

  • Outwardly cynical, he was sentimental to the point of bathos.


    Evelyn Scott

  • Then will come the crowning event, after which all must necessarily be bathos.

British Dictionary definitions for bathos



a sudden ludicrous descent from exalted to ordinary matters or style in speech or writing
insincere or excessive pathos
triteness; flatness
the lowest point; nadir

Word Origin for bathos

C18: from Greek: depth, from bathus deep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bathos

"anticlimax, a descent from the sublime to the ridiculous," 1727, from Greek bathos "depth," related to bathys "deep" (see benthos). Introduced by Pope.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper