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According to wikipedia, smalltalk is an informal type of discourse that does not cover any functional topics of conversation or any transactions that need to be addressed. For example:

  • William: Morning, Paul.
  • Paul: Oh, morning, William, how are you?
  • William: Fine, thanks. Have a good weekend?
  • Paul: Yes, thanks. Catch you later.
  • William: OK, see you.

I haven't found a word to describe the opposite: an informal type of discourse that DOES cover a functional topic of conversation or a transaction that need to be addressed.

Could we say "deep talk"? Maybe just "non-smalltalk" is the best option?

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I refer to the conversation I have with closer friends which is the opposite of small talk as

Deep/Meaningful/Insightful talk
  • I think all answers are correct. Personally, I like more both this one and substantial talk (from @Elian) because I can say: "I like insignhtful talks" or "I like substantial talks". If I say "I like serious conversations" or "I like discussions" or "I like conversation" or "I like to talk", it sounds less clear for me. – chelder May 5 '14 at 19:51
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I would call it serious conversation.

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I would say either discussion or discourse, or even intercourse, although intercourse doesn't necessarily imply that the talk actually achieved a communication objective.

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"talk" would be the best option.

If you say to someone "We need to have a talk" or "Can we have a talk?", it obviously implies a meaningful one.

Consider also meaty and "substantial" talk (or discussion, conversation).

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substantive suhb-stuh n-tiv/ adjective

having practical importance, value, or effect.

A substantive conversation as opposed to "small talk"

small talk smôl ˌtôk/ noun

polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.

Both a substantive conversation and small talk are also in contrast to a rhetorical argument.

rhetorical rəˈtôrək(ə)l/ adjective

expressed in terms intended to persuade or impress.

To best choose which term to use, consider the content, intention and setting.

  • Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. – NVZ May 29 '17 at 14:03
  • @NVZ happy to provide additional information. I hope that helps – PV22 May 29 '17 at 14:41
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I would say conversation would be the most appropriate antonym. Smalltalk is a subset of conversation. The characteristics of this subset dictate that it has no functional topic. Once you remove this charateristic, it just becomes conversation.

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brass tacks, as in the idiomatic phrase "get down to brass tacks".

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Although less common, the term big or large talk certainly does exist, as attested by the users in this Quora thread.

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What about having a one on one or a heart to heart/heartful convo, can I speak to you in private?, I always liked the "No, but seriously...." Line but meaningful is another good one. I'm just trying to think of something short and simple.

heart to heart a serious conversation between two people, usually close friends, in which they talk honestly about their feelings - Cambridge Dictionary

A heart-to-heart is a frank and honest conversation with someone, where you talk honestly and plainly about issues, no matter how painful. - usingenglish.com

  • 1
    Hello and welcome. I like your suggestion of "heart to heart". It can be helpful to cite and link to definitions and usage examples in order to support your answer. I've added a couple for you. Feel free to add more, edit these, or roll them back. – Lawrence May 29 '17 at 13:57

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