late 14c., "characterized by exaggerated self-importance or an ostentatiously dignified style," from Old French pompos (14c., Modern French pompeux) and directly from Late Latin pomposus "stately, pompous," from Latin pompa "pomp" (see pomp). More literal (but less common) meaning "characterized by magnificence and dignity" is attested from early 15c. In 15c. it also could mean "fierce, formidable." Related: Pompously; pompousness.