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There's a word I thought I knew at some point, but can no longer remember what it was.

I tried looking up various thesaurus websites to no avail.

Similar words to what I'm looking for, but not quite:

  • Elaborate: too neutral -- I'm looking for a more negative connotation.
  • Elucidate: too positive a connotation.
  • Ruminate: The direction is correct, but it is about "thinking about something in too much detail" vs actually describing it so.
  • Describe ad nauseum: 3 words, and awkward sounding.

Example sentence: "He began to __ the topic"

To clarify, I'm looking for a verb.

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1  
I would use TMI... –  Roaring Fish Dec 19 '12 at 9:39
2  
Please could you provide an example of a sentence where you're thinking of using the desired word? –  user3490 Dec 19 '12 at 13:19
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Member - of english stack. –  RyeɃreḁd Oct 11 '13 at 19:17

10 Answers 10

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It could be expatiate:

from the OED:

To speak or write at some length; to enlarge; to be copious in description or discussion.

from Merriam-Webster:

to speak or write at length or in detail

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This one looks good. Let me think about it some more though... –  Alex Budovski Dec 19 '12 at 23:21
    
This is good except for one thing: I feel it's a bit too netural, kind of like "elaborate". Is there something with a slight negative connotation? –  Alex Budovski Dec 19 '12 at 23:25
    
@AlexBudovski I took a look over at wordnik and it seems like there can be a slight negative connotation to the word. Here is the first example sentence: "He expatiated on the subject until everyone was bored." There is also an old book called "English Synonyms and Antonyms" that mentions the derogatory connotation of expatiate. Other words with a negative connotation stress the aspect of long-windedness rather than excessive detail, so I'm not sure if there is a better fit. –  Cameron Dec 20 '12 at 0:05
    
Thanks. I'll mark this as answer unless someone posts a better suggestion. –  Alex Budovski Dec 20 '12 at 1:05

"Verbose" can be used for for that purpose, meaning overly wordiness, in general.

From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Main Entry: ver·bose

Pronunciation: (ˌ)vər-ˈbōs\ Function: adjective Etymology: Latin verbosus, from verbum Date: 1672 1 : containing more words than necessary : wordy ; also : impaired by wordiness 2 : given to wordiness synonyms see wordy — ver·bose·ly adverb — ver·bose·ness noun — ver·bos·i·ty -ˈbä-sə-tē\ noun

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I know verbose, but that is a noun. You can't say "He began to verbose the topic". –  Alex Budovski Dec 19 '12 at 23:23
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@AlexBudovski, When I answered this morning, you hadn't specified a verb - so if we want to use this word we'll have to switch things up a bit . . . "he covered the topic with verbosity" or "his verbose coverage of the topic was to the extreme" or "he spoke on the topic with extreme verboseness". That's what I can do after the fact. :-) –  Kristina Lopez Dec 19 '12 at 23:46

You could say that they were waxing prolix, which sounds a lot nicer than that they were prattling on, but serves the same purpose.

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Superflous. From OED:

a. That is present in a greater quantity than is desired, permitted, or required for the purpose; abundant or numerous to the point of excess; more than sufficient.

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The examples in the question, and in one of the previous answers, are verbs; in this answer, I'll mention a few adjectival forms to consider. If a passage of text is hard to read because of being too detailed, (that is, more detailed than is necessary for some purpose), it might be termed overelaborate, euphuistic, florid, labored, embellished, convoluted. Euphuistic style sometimes is called Gongorism. Baroque has some senses that may apply.

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Technically, such speakers are violating Grice's Second Quantity Maxim.

Since these are the rules for cooperatine communication, they are uncooperative,
though of course they may not see it in quite that way.

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longiloquence

long-winded language

pleniloquence

excessive talking

"The guilty party": longiloquist, pleniloquist.

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sialoquent: spitting greatly while speaking ^__^ –  Talia Ford Oct 11 '13 at 19:11

I think pedantic may be a good choice.

According to dictionary.com it can mean: overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching.

So you could say: Our teacher is pedantic or is being pedantic.

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If someone provides more information than is strictly necessary, perhaps they are overspecifying?

Also, given that you've said this relates to thinking in too much detail about something, how about overthinking?

I would usually avoid neologisms / Americanisms / corporate gibberish, but in this case I think these are probably reasonable options.

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Your really should not thrown English as spoken in North America into the same bin as corporate gibberish. It is at best insensitive. –  tchrist Dec 19 '12 at 22:55
    
I did not equate the two - I merely expressed my preferences. Any comment on whether this actually answers the question? –  user3490 Dec 19 '12 at 22:59

It's easier to find an adjective which describes the type of speaking the OP asks for

Punctilious strictly attentive to detail; meticulous or fastidious

Pernickety excessively precise and attentive to detail; fussy

He began to explain the topic punctiliously.

and

He was terribly pernickety about (subject).

In addition:

I've been lazily chucking in ordinary butter up until now, but I give the clarified stuff a try, and even strain it in, in obedience to Michel Roux Jr's particularly pernickety method.

But there is one verb which could be used, albeit it doesn't cover the "too much detail" part, but then again none of the suggested answers really do.

Explicate verb, [To explain meticulously or in great detail; to elucidate; to analyze]

The real difference is that Auerbach is attempting to explicate the text in front of him, to help the reader "see" more fully what is really going on in the scene from the Odyssey.

"He began to explicate on the topic"

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