Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Glitz, Bling, Flamboyance and Glam

Today when Adventure Man called at lunch, I was telling him I bought some bling for fun gifts. He said he didn’t think my family did “bling” and I said we didn’t, but this was just a little glitz, just for fun.

“What’s the difference between ‘glitz’ and ‘bling?’ he asked.

I said ‘glitz’ is like a little decoration, a little frosting, but ‘bling’ is ostentatious.

“I consider myself ‘flamboyant.’ he said.

“Oh no!” I protested. “Flamboyant is over the top, it’s that color that is just a little too bright, the gesture that is a little too large, the voice or laughter just a little to high, a little too loud.”

Then it nagged at me until I had to go look it up. As it turns out, bling MIGHT be expensive, but it has the origination of new riches that the owner is afraid he might lose, so he turns it into jewelry that he can keep close to his person, as well as showy and ostentatious. So, I was wrong.

As it turns out, all the following words have a connotation of excessiveness, ostentation and a little over the top.

glitz (glts) Informal n.
Ostentatious showiness; flashiness: “a garish barrage of show-biz glitz” Peter G. Davis.
tr.v. glitz·ed, glitz·ing, glitz·es
To invest with an ostentatiously showy quality: “have started to glitz up their shows with filmed backdrops” Bill Barol.
[Back-formation from glitzy, flashy, showy, probably from German glitzern, to glitter, from Middle High German glitzen, to shine, from Old High German glzan; see ghel-2 in Indo-European roots.]
glitzi·ness n.
glitzy adj.
From The Free Dictionary.

“Bling-bling” (usually shortened to simply “bling”) is a hip hop slang term which refers to expensive jewelry and other accoutrements, and also to an entire lifestyle built around excess spending and ostentation. In its essence, the term refers to the exterior manifestation of one’s interior state of character, normally displayed through various forms of visual stimuli.

The first apparent use of the term ‘bling bling’ in mainstream culture was in reference to the L-3 badge (real gold) and also a hip hop track of the same title, by rapper B.G., along with Baby Birdman, Juvenile et al [1], celebrating their wealth (as many of their tracks do). “Bling Bling,” released in 1998, led later in the 2000’s to the term proliferating through mainstream hip hop and eventually spilling over into popular culture as a sarcastic term used to mock the perceived vacuousness of hip hop culture. Comedians such as Ali G in the UK, exploited this for humour.

Bling can also be plastic, or fake, jewelry. Many people who cannot afford, or do not wish to buy, real diamonds, gold, etc, opt for fake glass or plastic jewelry. This makes them look big, and bling-bling.

In 2005, the rapper B.G. remarked that he ‘wished he’d patented the term’ so that he would have profited from its extensive use. In interviews, he has stated that the term refers to the imaginary sound that light makes when it hits a diamond. However, the term was in use for several years prior as a reference to getting rich quickly inspired by the sound made when collecting gold coins in popular Nintendo video games such as Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers and when collecting gold rings in Sega’s Sonic Hedgehog.

The culture of ostentatious display of wealth was ingrained in street culture long before the 90’s, however: it is thought that wearing expensive jewelry was the one way in which young previously impoverished men, who had acquired riches through crime, could be sure of holding on to their wealth by keeping it about their person. This marks out the wearer of such jewelry as a person with ghetto roots, as it shows that the source of their wealth or their personal prejudices prevent them from investing in more stable assets such as cash in the bank or property. Hence ‘bling bling’, while widely regarded as a faddish slang phrase, has been seen by some as manifestation of a deeper socioeconomic problem in the US, trivialised by mainstream media and hip hop. For comparison, see chav.

Related meaning

In the Middle East, counterfeit brand-name goods (such as Rolex watches) may be known as bling bling specials.
From The Free Dictionary.

flam·boy·ant (flm-boint)
1. Highly elaborate; ornate.
2. Richly colored; resplendent.
3. Architecture Of, relating to, or having wavy lines and flamelike forms characteristic of 15th- and 16th-century French Gothic architecture.
4. Given to ostentatious or audacious display. See Synonyms at showy.
See royal poinciana.
[French, from Old French, present participle of flamboyer, to blaze, from flambe, flame; see flame.]
flam·boyance, flam·boyan·cy n.
flam·boyant·ly adv.
From The Free Dictionary.

Aren’t these great words?

And last but not least:



Glamorous; wearing fashionable clothes and make-up, particularly when done to excess.


1) She’s so glam that people think she’s a model.

2) I love David Bowie and all of those glam rockers.


‘Glam’ is short for ‘glamorous’. Glam and glamorous refer to the magical attraction and excitement produced by celebrities.
From English Daily – Slang

June 30, 2007 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Communication, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Humor, Kuwait, Language, Middle East, Shopping, Words


  1. “I consider myself ‘flamboyant.’” he said.

    *howling laughing* I just can’t imagine describing the khalo as flamboyant:-).

    flamboyant has connotations of exuberance that loud doesn’t, I think – which gives it a sense of fun that can be its saving grace.

    bling has always been tied to a notion of excess, but in its initial incarnation it was very much about authentic objects, as signs of financial success. Hence the passion for massively logo’ed accessories (sunglasses, bags, etc.) of 2002-3, the mega-bottles of top-brand champagne, big multi-diamond rings, etc. Bling was excess, but it was REAL excess – nothing cheap about it, which made it possible for the term to be used in a non-negative way.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | June 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. xpatr, to maintain your street cred, no one says bling anymore. 😛 actually i dont know if they still say “street cred” either….


    i think its pretty much what diamond said,… initially it was purely a way of displaying financial success, legit or otherwise. and it started out as new money having more cash than class,… hence the big name and logo medallions.

    after that it became a sign of keeping it real and having roots in the ghetto,…. hence ghetto fabulous.

    this post reminded me of a Ludacris song called Stand Up:

    watch out for the medallion,
    my diamonds are reckless,
    feels like a midget,
    is hanging from my necklace.

    the video’s got him literally wearing a midget painted in silver:

    pretty much poking fun at all the bling-bling that was around at the time.

    Comment by sknkwrkz | June 30, 2007 | Reply

  3. Now I’m curious to know what bling or shall I say, glitz you got?

    Comment by Maria | June 30, 2007 | Reply

  4. Little Diamond, I see you support Skunk, using Bling in the past tense.

    Maria, you would laugh. I’m pretty much low key. But I bought some genuine bling-y – ooops! – glitzy – gifts to take back. 😉

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 30, 2007 | Reply

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