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Word of the Day
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Definitions for puffery

  1. undue or exaggerated praise.
  2. publicity, acclaim, etc., that is full of undue or exaggerated praise.

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Citations for puffery
The one TV critic whom no one is paranoid about is the Times's otherworldly right-winger, John Corry, who wrote a piece praising the universally excoriated debut of 48 Hours one week and then, having been lambasted for this puffery by his fellow Timesmen, wrote a piece the following week, before an episode of the show had aired, recanting his praise. Charles Pooter, "Calling All Critics," Spy, April 1988
He was all concern and sympathy and told me how much he admired me standing up for my home and family, and somehow all that puffery ended up with me being told that there's no way the party could support me this election cycle. John Scalzi, Lock In, 2014
Origin of puffery
The word puffery has always meant “excessive, fulsome praise.” In the US puffery has legal or quasi-legal status. In 1957 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that puffery was “frequently used to denote the exaggerations reasonably to be expected of a seller as to the degree of quality of his product, the truth or falsity of which cannot be precisely determined." And in 1984 the FTC stated that puffery, e.g, all that French on a restaurant menu, does not authorize enforcement by the FTC: "The Commission generally will not pursue cases involving obviously exaggerated or puffing representations, i.e., those that the ordinary consumers do not take seriously." Puffery entered English in the 18th century.