In the sentence

In the time of full-blown financial crisis in the country's history the contingency measures undertaken by the bank's shareholders and the management proved insufficient.

does the part in bold have an implied meaning of the most full-blown?

I get that connotation from the complement in the country's history.

  • 4
    Where does this quote come from? It looks like an editing error.
    – Robusto
    Mar 2, 2019 at 22:06
  • @Robusto i don't have the source, just the quotation, but i came across such construction in English quite a few times, it's not unknown to me, where's the error in your opinion? Mar 2, 2019 at 22:08
  • 2
    I have to agree with Robusto. I would have written:During the GREATEST/WORST full-blown financial crisis in the country's history, <--(comma) ... And if the superlative meaning is not the one they intended, then: During A TIME/PERIOD of full-blown financial crisis in the country's (recent) history,...
    – CocoPop
    Mar 2, 2019 at 22:13
  • 4
    MOST full-blown wouldn't work. FULL-BLOWN is already an extreme state - something has reached the highest degree of the state implied. Thus one thing cannot be more full-blown than another. However, the scope of its effects can be referred to with WORST/GREATEST/MOST DEVASTATING, etc.
    – CocoPop
    Mar 2, 2019 at 22:16
  • @БаянКупи-ка My pleasure)))
    – CocoPop
    Mar 2, 2019 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


I don't see a problem with "full-blown" used this way. However, some aspects of the sentence make me a bit uncomfortable. I'll base my answer on this version of your sentence:

In a time of full-blown financial crisis, stringent measures must be taken.

In case the commenters are still uncomfortable, please notice that the following sentence follows the same pattern:

In a time of imminent complete financial collapse, stringent measures must be taken.

We see there is an either-or situation. We're either in a time of full-blown financial crisis [or imminent complete financial collapse] or we're not. The assumption is that we are. (Analogy: someone is either pregnant or not pregnant.]

So now to answer your question:

If we take "superlative" in the grammar sense, then no, it isn't. Grammar superlatives are things like good - best, serious - most serious.

If we take "superlative" in the more general sense of "An exaggerated or hyperbolical expression of praise" (Oxford) then I suppose it sort of is, although usually superlative in this sense refers to positive qualities, for example "After writing nearly 100 DVD reviews, one begins to run out of superlatives to describe the better discs which pass before the eyes and ears."

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