bathos vs mawkishness what difference

what is difference between bathos and mawkishness



Borrowed from Ancient Greek βάθος (báthos, depth). Employed ironically following Alexander Pope’s Peri Bathous, lampooning various errors in contemporary writers.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbeɪθɒs/


bathos (uncountable)

  1. Overdone or treacly attempts to inspire pathos.
  2. (now uncommon) Depth.
    • 1638, Robert Sanderson, “A sermon preached at Newport in the Isle of Wight”, II.101:
      There is such a height, and depth, and length, and breadth in that love; such a βάθος in every dimension of it.
  3. (literature, the arts) Risible failure on the part of a work of art to properly affect its audience, particularly owing to
    1. anticlimax: an abrupt transition in style or subject from high to low.
    2. banality: unaffectingly cliché or trite treatment of a topic.
    3. immaturity: lack of serious treatment of a topic.
    4. hyperbole: excessiveness
  4. (literature, the arts) The ironic use of such failure for satiric or humorous effect.
  5. (uncommon) A nadir, a low point particularly in one’s career.
    • 1814, Thomas Jefferson, Writings, IV.240:
      How meanly has he closed his inflated career! What a sample of the bathos will his history present!
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, chapter XXI:
      I know what he suffers now, for instance, exactly: it is merely a beginning of what he shall suffer, though. And he’ll never be able to emerge from his bathos of coarseness and ignorance.
    • 2018, Matthew d’Ancona, The Tories are a party in crisis, their identity in desperate shape in the Guardian:[1]
      Thus can the ideology of the fringe, the pinstripe mutterings of the nativist few, end up determining the trajectory of an entire nation. This is where bathos meets tragedy.


  • (anticlimax): See anticlimax
  • (artistic failure through banality): banality, triteness
  • (artistic failure through triviality): immaturity, callowness
  • (artistic failure through hyperbole): chewing the scenery, hamminess
  • (artistic failure through overdone pathos): sappiness, cheesiness, tweeness, treacliness


  • (depth): See depth
  • (artistic failure): pathos
  • (nadir): See nadir


Further reading

  • bathos on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • bathos at OneLook Dictionary Search





mawkish +‎ -ness


mawkishness (countable and uncountable, plural mawkishnesses)

  1. The property of being mawkish.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial