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I'm looking for a single-word term that describes a personality that wants to give out too many unnecessary details in a conversation.

[EDIT] Let me give you guys an example. Suppose you ask your friend, at what time will he reach your place? Instead of saying it directly, he wanders off track by regurgitating unnecessary details like "I'd be catching the bus at 10, then I'll reach place X by this time, then I'll take another bus to your place, and maybe I'll arrive by 12". Is it circumlocution?

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In your original question, you asked for a personality trait description, thus the answers having to do with people who talk to much. In the example from your edit, it seems you're looking more for a word describing the act of rambling itself. Circumlocution sometimes implies an evasive intent. Discursiveness might work better. –  Callithumpian Mar 12 '11 at 20:01
    
I've come to really appreciate the idiom for this: X went off on one of her legendary shaggy dog stories.... –  Merk Sep 9 '13 at 9:32
    
I'm late to the party, but I might call that person “punctilious”. Other words not yet mentioned: “meticulous”, or “comprehensive”. (Perhaps with a bit of sarcastic bite... “How comprehensive you are Jeeves.”) –  ipso Apr 23 at 19:42
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18 Answers 18

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I once knew a fellow who was prone to this specific fault. He wasn't a "circumlocutor," as that would mean a person who "talks around" a topic without coming to the point. Rather, this person would trail off into arabesques of detail that were unneeded (and unwanted). Let me give you an example:

"I had a teacher who wore shoes like that - he was from Amherst, you know, the school in Massachusetts, and I got a speeding ticket there from a cop who had a radar gun that looked like the things you'd see in an RKO serial, like Flash Gordon, and y'know I think we ought to have those again in theaters except that theaters today just show trailers, and do you know why those things are called "trailers" anyway? They don't "trail" anything, they lead it off so maybe they should be called "headers" except that a header is maybe something you'd see in soccer, which is called "football" in most countries where it's played and isn't that weird?"

And in this, I believe that English suffers from a fault in that we do not have a precise word for a person who talks this way. We could coin "digressor," perhaps.

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The terms you used are closest to what I was expecting. Hence accepted! –  n0nChun Mar 13 '11 at 17:05
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This sounds like a very particular symptom of a psychiatric disorder. Do you happen to know the name of some disorders that have this symptom? –  Mitch Apr 28 '11 at 14:18
    
Googled it, answered my own questions: flight of ideas, tangentiality, loosening of associations (with each their own nuances; all can be caused by very different disorders...or...lots of interests). –  Mitch Apr 28 '11 at 14:42
    
Funny you should ask - he was also a compulsive hand-washer. I mean, he'd wash his hands at least once an hour. So he definitely had some kind of OCD thing going on. Possibly mild autism as well on the Asberger's spectrum. DSM-IV might have more suggestions. –  The Raven Apr 28 '11 at 14:57
    
My mother does this exact same thing. It's incredibly frustrating to talk to her. I'm so glad I have some new words for it now. –  KitFox Jun 6 '11 at 11:12
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There's always the classic loudmouth or blabbermouth. You might describe such a blowhard as having loose lips, because he's always yapping. Chatterboxes and gossip mongers never know when to keep things discreet. And, if such a person goes a million miles a second while he's regurgitating all the sensitive information you've ever told him, he probably deserves to be called a motormouth. If you want the emphasis to be on the unnecessary aspect, instead of all the details he's giving out, one might say that gasbag is prattling on and on, instead of getting straight to the point.

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But aren't these all words for people who talk too much, rather than the specific request of 'too many unnecessary details'? –  codeulike Mar 11 '11 at 15:30
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@codeulike Isn't the implication when one says someone speaks "too much" that there are some details in whatever is being said that one doesn't want to hear, agnostic of the specifics? In any case, in my final sentence I did give an example focusing on the "unnecessary" aspect, by highlighting prattle, which one could easily convert into its noun form, as a prattler. –  Uticensis Mar 11 '11 at 18:22
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+1 I think it's kind of amusing that this post first gives lots of unnecessary details instead of getting straight to the point. –  Mark Byers Mar 11 '11 at 20:10
    
Very amusing answer. +1! –  user461 Jun 6 '11 at 11:51
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Overparticular is an apt term for this.

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Prattling git works too. –  Darwy Jun 6 '11 at 8:14
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Loquacious is a nice way of saying that someone talks perhaps a bit too much. Blabbermouth is an insulting way of saying the same thing.

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+1 for Loquacious - what a great word! –  Town Mar 11 '11 at 11:29
    
Why aren't any of these words in any dictionary that's sold over here lol? –  user461 Jun 6 '11 at 11:52
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Such a person might be called garrulous or prolix, or said to be suffering from logorrhea (a personal favorite), though these are more about verbal profusity in general than excessive detail in specific. One of the meanings of "to niggle" is "to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details", but you're taking your life in your hands calling anyone a niggler.

If these unnecessary details tend to shade into the inappropriately personal, then the fairly recent coinage oversharer may be called for.

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Make niggler three syllables for as much safety as you can get. –  Jon Purdy Mar 11 '11 at 5:15
    
logorrhea? Sounds a bit too similar to Gonorrhea :P –  user461 Jun 6 '11 at 11:53
    
@user461: And diarrhea. Neither of which similarities is a drawback for any of my purposes. –  chaos Apr 29 '12 at 16:43
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I like garrulous. Though I'm not.

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you reminded me of a story about (US) President Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge, who was famously... not garrulous. He was seated at an official function next to a young lady, who said to him "Oh, Mr. President! I bet all the girls back home that I could get you to say three words to me." Quoth he: "You lose." –  MT_Head Jun 6 '11 at 0:50
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Most people have proposed nouns, so I'll go with adjectives: verbose and voluble. Less formal: mouthy, gabby, chatty.

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+1 for verbose. –  josh3736 Mar 11 '11 at 16:50
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Likewise. verbose nails it politely, without being obscure. –  intuited Mar 13 '11 at 3:39
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Circumlocutious is the first thing that comes to mind. Wordy, roundabout person/manner of speaking.

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Circumlocutor yes? –  Adel Jun 25 '11 at 20:25
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Rambler, someone who rambles on and on

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A TMIer?

The Pathological TMIer has the tendency to blurt out far too much personal information that would have been better left unsaid. Similar to a Pathological Liar, they can't seem to keep the information inside, no matter how ridiculous or embarrassing it may sound to others. They have no shame regarding their blatant use of TMI (Too Much Information).

quote from Urban Dictionary

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Because link rot happens, it would be good if you could include a relevant quote from that article. –  Marthaª Mar 11 '11 at 23:12
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@Martha: I added a quote from another link. –  Callithumpian Mar 12 '11 at 2:58
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In rhetorics, there is perissologia:

In general, the fault of wordiness. More specifically, periphrasis, circumlocution, synonymia, accumulatio, or amplification carried to a fault by length or overelaborateness.

Circumlocution is "talking around" something, and your example actually states what is meant directly, although with extra details (though it is contextual: if the example you give is an answer to question "Are you sure you will come?" then I would call it circumlocution as it does not answer it directly).

You might also consider macrologia, which is

Longwindedness. Using more words than are necessary in an attempt to appear eloquent.

But, the question is if the person is trying to appear eloquent, or is simply long-winded.

So, from these definitions two English words strike me as interesting

  • long-windedness

    The use of more words than are necessary for clarity or precision; verbosity, prolixity.

  • wordiness

    The excessive, often unnecessary, use of words in a sentence.

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+1 for long-winded. –  Callithumpian Jun 7 '11 at 2:39
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Not a single-word, I'm afraid, but several...

Someone who doesn't get to the point can be said to go round in circles.

[Later...] One word, I have it! Sooner or later it had to come. I was sure another one existed, but then I saw so many of the previous answers which were so very good, and every time I thought of a word, I checked, and there it was. (I try not to repeat any posted answers, so annoying when you read a new answer posted by a well-intentioned user but who obviously hasn't read all the posts.) I must say, I do like the words; chatterbox, prattling and garrulous. But do they imply giving out too much information, too much personal details which were clearly not asked for? Perhaps, it would be more appropriate to say that in these cases, people tend to pad out their conversations or as I prefer to call them, chit-chats, if they're frivolous in nature, or if among close friends, having a good chinwag.

Simple and direct, that's how I like people to be. Anyway, moving on, my word has not been said, and fits the OP's request.

Meandering
moving slowly in no particular direction or with no clear purpose: a long meandering speech

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Noun: windbag - one who talks too much, yet usually contributes nothing of importance.

Adjectives: gabby, garrulous - tending to talk excessively, inclined to chatter; talkative.

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Perhaps glib, though that doesn't have any negative connotation of "too many details."

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I call upon my nerd powers of endless exposition and summon: pedantic, didactic.

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I'm sorry but why the down vote? pedantic means overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching which seems like an exact fit with the OP –  djm Oct 11 '12 at 13:51
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longiloquist

longiloquence, n.
1. Long-windedness.

(Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913)

It's a rare word, but it exists.

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Allow me to suggest babbler or rambler.

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protected by RegDwigнt Jun 6 '11 at 7:55

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