Purple prose

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Excessively flowery writing, typically produced by novices reaching for a poetic effect that exceeds their writing talent or by experts who digress in order to show off.

The term comes from the "Ars Poetica," in which Horace complains about artists whose excessive embellishment of some minor detail (akin to sewing "purple patches" onto some plainer fabric) distracts from the utility of the overall work. [DGJ]