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purple prose (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) Extravagant or flowery writing, especially in a literary work.
    • 1932, Harry T. Baker, "Hazlitt as a Shakespearean Critic," PMLA, vol. 47, no. 1, p. 198:
      Swinburne is often a very discerning critic in spite of his penchant for purple prose.
    • 1960 Oct. 24, "Book of Lamentations" (Review of The Last of the Just by André Schwarz-Bart), Time:
      His persecuted characters bleed purple prose, and he persistently confuses an assault on the nerves with a cry from the heart.
    • 2004, Joan Huber, "Lenski Effects on Sex Stratification Theory," Sociological Theory, vol. 22, no. 2, p. 261:
      An antibiological bias . . . was stimulated by a flood of popular and scholarly books in the 1960s and 1970s (some awash in deep purple prose) saying that male domination was natural and inevitable.