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Just complete an article about Yao Ming, who is a great basketball star in NBA. The only thing I fail to understand is the phrase "Amid much fanfare" in this sentence:

Amid much fanfare, Yao Ming, 31, announced his retirement on July 20 from the National Basketball Association's Houston Rockets, the US team who made him a global star, and the Chinese national team five days later.

After turning to Google and a dictionary for help, it seems still not so clear to me.

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closed as general reference by Hugo, Matt Эллен, onomatomaniak, aedia λ, kiamlaluno Nov 10 '11 at 12:33

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's this second meaning:

fanfare NOUN
ˈfænfeə(r) ˈfænfer

1 [countable]
a short loud piece of music that is played to celebrate somebody/something important arriving
- A fanfare of trumpets will sound for the Queen.

2 [uncountable, countable]
a large amount of activity and discussion on television, in newspapers, etc. to celebrate somebody/something
- The product was launched amid much fanfare worldwide.
- Despite the fanfare of publicity that accompanied its launch, his latest novel sold only a few hundred copies.

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The phrase

Amid much fanfare

is composed of

Amid

(prep.) In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by; among.

fanfare

a large amount of activity and discussion on television, in newspapers, etc. to celebrate somebody/something

So the combined meaning is:

In the middle of a lot of celebration

(celebration might not be the right word here, depending on the context - fanfare could stand also for a situation where there is no literal celebration, but there is a lot of talk, speculation and/or praise directed at someone; a lot of audible activity directed at someone)

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I'm not sure what dictionary you consulted, but "fanfare" I believe was originally the little trumpet tune played by heralds to announce the entrance of the King (or Duke or whatever). –  T.E.D. Nov 9 '11 at 14:46
    
Popular depictions of ancient Rome also includes fanfares (though the evidence is not conclusive) –  Unreason Nov 9 '11 at 15:31
    
In this sense it just means "a lot of noise" –  Andrew Vit Nov 10 '11 at 8:10

In the words of the OED, a fanfare is:

A flourish, call, or short tune, sounded by trumpets, bugles, or hunting-horns.

By extension, it can be used figuratively and, as in your example, rather loosely, to describe the extravagant and colourful way in which any outstanding event is marked.

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