It’s a trap.
It’s a Barmecide feast, a Potemkin village. It’s like internecine, comprise, meretricious, or one of Benjamin Lee Whorf’s “empty” gasoline drums. If you go by what it looks like, even by what you’ve seen other people treat it as, you will end up in Fulsome Prison.
Because we want it that way.
Does it look like it is made from full (meaning ‘full’) plus the same some that you get on awesome, quarrelsome, adventuresome, bothersome, fearsome, and lonesome? I’m sorry to have to tell you that you are one hundred percent correct. That is exactly where it comes from.
So it means something like ‘plentiful’, right? “Fulsome praise” is like “effusive praise”?
Yes, it does. Historically. I can open any dictionary and it will confirm that that is a sense you can use it for. But if…
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