Indian politician Shashi Tharoor made a splash on Twitter recently with an obscure word – “rodomontade”. That sent many people to their dictionaries with Google trends registering a big spike in lookups for the word after his tweet.
The noted logophile tweeted: “To all the well-meaning folks who send me parodies of my supposed speaking/writing style: The purpose of speaking or writing is to communicate w/ precision. I choose my words because they are the best ones for the idea I want to convey, not the most obscure or rodomontade ones!”
First attested in 1591, a rodomontade is a ‘vainglorious boast’ or ‘extravagant bragging’, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The word comes from Rodomonte, the name of a ‘hot-tempered and boastful character’ in an Italian epic poem, the OED explains.