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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 E. 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.

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


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


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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