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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Fulsome


FUL'SOME, adjective

1. Nauseous; offensive.

He that brings fulsome objects to my view, with nauseous images my fancy fills.

2. Rank; offensive to the smell; as a rank and fulsome smell.

3. Lustful; as fulsome ewes.

4. Tending to obscenity; as a fulsome epigram.

These are the English definitions of fulsome but I have never witnessed such applications of the word in the United States. It seems then that full and foul are radically the same word, the primary sense of which is stuffed, crowded, from the sense of putting on or in. In the United States, the compound fullsome takes its signification from full, in the sense of cloying or satiating, and in England, fulsome takes its predominant sense from foulness.