Not someone overstepping boundaries, but if, for example, I was at Jiffy Lube and suggested different things as if I knew anything about cars.

Ideally (though I know it's a long shot) I'd want a word I could use when I caught myself doing it (i.e. not super derogatory, but acknowledging the social gaffe).

Sorry, I don't actually know anything about cars; I'm just [being a] __.

  • 1
    This phenomenon is closely related to the Dunning-Kruger effect.
    – MrHen
    Mar 27, 2014 at 18:04
  • 2
    The first word that comes to mind is politician, though I realise that’s more of an example than a definition. ;-) Mar 27, 2014 at 18:05
  • See meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/904 about including mildly offensive jokes in comments.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 27, 2014 at 18:10
  • 1
    It sounds like you're talking out of your ass.
    – Gob Ties
    Mar 27, 2014 at 19:10
  • Bull shitting....?
    – WS2
    Mar 27, 2014 at 19:41

3 Answers 3


Not one word but there is an idiomatic phrase:

talk through one's hat

1. (idiomatic) To speak lacking expertise, authority, or knowledge; to invent or fabricate facts.  

2. (idiomatic) To assert something as true or valid; to bluff.

Thus, bluffing somewhat has this sense also.

There is another similar idiom but it has other connotations as well:

whistle in the dark: (idiomatic, US) To speak of something despite having little knowledge of it.


A know-it-all is a person who acts as though he or she had better knowledge or understanding than anyone else. It is a hard thing to admit to being, but it is a term for someone who pretends to knowledge he doesn't have.

Once, my husband and I heard someone apologize for being a know-it-all by saying, and now I've said far more than I actually know about the subject. We thought it a humorous way to admit to the fault, and it became a family joke.

  • I like that. I think I'll use it, too.
    – calvin
    Mar 27, 2014 at 19:48
  • 1
    A "know-it-all" person may actually know things and talks/interrupts too much when it comes to the things that he knows. More like a smartass, a pretentious person. I think this sense is more common. Isn't it?
    – ermanen
    Mar 27, 2014 at 20:02
  • @ermanen - A know-it-all can be arrogant or obnoxious as well, but not necessarily. I do like your idiom, though. The OP asked for a word, and that was the closest I could get. Mar 27, 2014 at 20:05

Prententious, ostentatious are adjectives that point out such behavior.

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