“Bathos” from Wikipedia

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“Bathos”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bathos (Greek βάθος, meaning “depth”) is an abrupt transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect. While often unintended, bathos may also be used deliberately to produce a humorous effect. If bathos is overt, it may be described as Burlesque or mock-heroic. It should not be confused with pathos, a mode of persuasion within the discipline of rhetoric, intended to arouse emotions of sympathy and pity.

Examples

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
–Jennifer Hart, Arlington, Virginia, entry in The Style Invitational humor contest in The Washington Post, 1999 March 14

They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . . Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn’t taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently.
–Mariann Simms, Wetumpka, Alabama, winning entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, 2003

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.
–Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 1978

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