‘Fulsome’ does not mean ‘full’

I have written before about the tendency of some people to use what seems like a more erudite word in place of a perfectly good ordinary one, perhaps in order to sound more learned and thus have their words carry more weight. In that case, it was the use of ‘misnomer’ instead of ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘misconception’.

I noticed another instance of this in a news story about the Progressive Conservatives of Ontario, Canada having a training program for young activists that involved “shoe-throwing, sexist language and participants being denied adequate food and water”.

Following complaints, the organizers apologized.

In an extraordinary move, the PC Party of Ontario issued a formal apology about the event, acknowledging there was “a great deal of feedback from participants who attended the training weekend.”

“Unfortunately it is clear from the feedback received that the CLF weekend did not meet the standards of some of the participants who paid to attend, and therefore of the PCPO,” the Tories said in an email sent to those who attended.

“As a result, the PCPO will be conducting a fulsome review of the structure and governance of the CLF program.

The actual definition of fulsome is “expressing something (such as praise or thanks) in a very enthusiastic or emotional way”, and it is not the equivalent of ‘full’ or ‘extremely thorough’ as the writer of that apology seemed to think.

As a digression, in these days when ‘political correctness’ has become seen as a scourge by some and anti-PC warriors are on the warpath, it is a little unfortunate for the Progressive Conservatives that the name of their party is abbreviated to the ‘PC Party’. Maybe the war of political correctness has not extended beyond the US borders into Canada.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Or, they meant what they said, and some egregious ass-kisser will conduct the review and report accordingly.

  2. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @ Holms,

    The national incarnation of the party ditched the “Progressive” part a ways back. At least they’re honest, I guess.

  3. Trickster Goddess says

    @ Holms

    Per Wiki:

    The party adopted the “Progressive Conservative” party name in 1942 when Manitoba Premier John Bracken, a long-time leader of that province’s Progressive Party, agreed to become leader of the federal Conservatives on condition that the party add Progressive to its name. Despite the name change, most former Progressive supporters continued to support the Liberal Party of Canada or the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation [now the left-wing NDP], and Bracken’s leadership of the Conservative Party came to an end in 1948.

  4. jrkrideau says

    ‘PC Party’ sounds perfectly natural to a Canadian . I must admit I never would have associated ‘PC Party’ with Politically Correct Party for historical reasons plus the “‘PC Party’ is not even close to being politically correct by Canadian standards although it might be consider so by the modern US Republican Party.

    @3 Golgafrinchan Captain
    The national incarnation of the party ditched the “Progressive” part a ways back. At least they’re honest, I guess.
    Honest is not a term I’d apply to the Cons. Probably just an accident during a fight between the Alliance and the old PCs over a new name.

  5. Matt G says

    I remember a letter sent by our class president from college. It was pretty clear (and painfully clear) that she had composed the letter with a pen in one hand and a thesaurus in the other.

  6. says

    The actual definition of fulsome is […] not the equivalent of ‘full’ or ‘extremely thorough’ as the writer of that apology seemed to think.

    Winsome, lose some.

    (I can’t believe nobody said that before I did.)

    Holms (#2) --

    “Progressive Conservative Party” – what on earth.

    “Progressive in opposition, conservative when in power” was most common description. Or you can just call them Tories, like most people did.

    I miss the Tories of old before Mulroney destroyed the party. You might not agree with the old style of conservatives, but they were sane and sober, and you could have a rational conversation with them. They based their policies on the same facts as everyone else, except that they reached different conclusions about what to do.

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