Senior Member

What feelings does the word rotund convey? Are they positive, negative or neutral? Is it an example of formal language?

The sources I have access to say that the word, in reference to people, stands for plump, fat.

"He found a more compliant victim in rotund Roland Browning, from whom he demanded dinner money, and then targeted black and Sikh pupils at a time when the National Front was a live issue in many playgrounds." (source)

Thank you!
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Rotund is a word that is quite well known, but not often used, in my experience, and I would say it has a somewhat comic air to it. Without context I would have described its use as mocking, but in context here, I think it's more prissy than mocking. This is a light piece, however, and I think the author is (or is trying to be) tongue-in-cheek.


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    We've been seeing each other around quite a bit the last few days!

    I would say that "rotund" is trying to be neutral, but in my experience, it is only used in 3rd party, and is often sarcastic, and, I agree with Matching Mole, comical. ie: used referring to someone who is, in fact, excessively overweight. I would say also that it is more formal than "plump" but I have never heard the word "portly."

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    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I also think that using "rotund" adds a comic air. I think this might arise from the fact that we are using a rather literary and elevated term to effectively call someone "fat".


    Senior Member
    English English
    It's dull of me but I agree with all the previous statements.
    I'd just like to add that I like the juxtaposition rotund Roland ~ a kind of 'visual rhyme'.


    Senior Member
    Think of a person clinically described as a mesomorph. Now that you have that image in mind, add fifteen or twenty percent to the person's body weight. There you have it, a rotund example of homo sapiens.

    In the linked photo, the gentleman on the right, Mr. Hardy, is rotund.
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