By Curtis Honeycutt
We all have that friend — the oversharer, the non-stop talker, the chatterbox. Sure, we’re stuck with them; as adults, it’s hard to get rid of a friend. We want to keep our friends at a safe distance and our enemies online. However, did you know there are several words that describe various types of garrulous, long-winded folks? Let’s investigate.
If you want to describe someone as a Chatty Cathy but don’t want them to feel bad about it, call them “multiloquent”; it has a nice ring to it. The word is derived from the Latin prefix “multi-” (much) and “loqui” (to speak). Sure, Jeff is multiloquent, but occasionally he tells a good joke.
Let’s suppose you don’t want to sound kind when referring to a verbose acquaintance. Consider describing him as a “blatteroon.” Seventeenth-century author Thomas Blount who wrote “Glossographia or a Dictionary of Hard Words” defined a blatteroon as a “babbler,” or an “idle-headed fellow.”
What does “prolix” mean? “Prolix” sounds like a medication featured in a commercial where people start in black and white and out of focus, but then become clear and colorful by the end. In fact, symptoms of someone described as prolix (an adjective) include talking or writing to a tedious length, not being able to stop talking, and excessive verbosity. The noun version of “prolix” is “prolixity,” as in, “Debbie is prone to prolixity.”
Speaking of undesirable symptoms, have you or someone you know experienced “logorrhea”? As gross as this sounds, it does not involve GI issues. Logorrhea is excessive talking or writing that is often redundant or tedious. Being around someone with logorrhea is unpleasant, as her long-windedness can result in frequent headaches.
Have you ever been accused of “circumlocution”? If so, you either use too many words to describe something or are trying to be evasive. Politicians do this – they get asked a simple yes or no question and then respond with a two-minute answer where they simply talk around the answer and never actually answer the question.
If you have a friend who’s prone to rambling, you can instead refer to them as a “discursive” person. When you’re being discursive, you wander from subject to subject, often without letting anyone else get in a word edgewise. It’s not any fun to be around a discursive fellow.
Perhaps you don’t have a friend who falls into one of these chatty categories. If so, take a long look in the mirror; there’s a good chance you’re the nonstop talker of the group!
—Curtis Honeycutt is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist and author. Connect with him at curtishoneycutt.com.