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He was very effusive in his praise of the features.

The definition on wordnik shows a lot of words that gives me the feeling that effusive has a negative connotation:

  • unrestrained
  • excessive
  • extravagant

And the related meaning of a volcanic rock that is pouring heightens that feeling.

Is effusive a negative word or can it express positive connotation, too? Does the connotation change if I replace effusive with gushy?

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Unrestrained and extravagant are not negative except when context make them so. Excessive is the only one of your three synonyms with a built-in criticism. – MετάEd Jan 31 '12 at 14:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

No. Effusive is not negative, it has a positive connotation to it. 'He was very effusive in his praise of the features.' is fine.

adjective demonstrative, enthusiastic, lavish, extravagant, overflowing, gushing, exuberant, expansive, ebullient, free-flowing, unrestrained, talkative, fulsome, profuse, unreserved
He was effusive in his praise of the General.

Also, This ngram for effusive in his praise and effusive praise shows the expressions are on well-trodden territory: enter image description here

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was that "the General" or the film "The General"? – Joe Blow Oct 12 '14 at 15:07
@JoeBlow Collins doesn't even capitalize 'general' collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-thesaurus/effusive No way to know. – Kris Oct 14 '14 at 5:59
great point, Kris ! – Joe Blow Oct 14 '14 at 6:58

Personally, I've never seen "effusive" used negatively. "Gushy", on the other hand, has always implied that it's too much.

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Yes, too much to be positive even. – Kris Jan 31 '12 at 14:24
perfectly put -- effusive is positive. "gushy" say is when you go too far! i'm effusive on this answer! – Joe Blow Oct 12 '14 at 15:06

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