How can I describe authorship where the author often oversteps logical stopping points, or where the author introduces superfluous, tangentially related content?

Here are some more details to describe the situation I am referring to.

Suppose there is a true statement about the relationship between A and B which is what the author wants to express. Now suppose there is another true relationship between B and C which is true but has little or no relevance to the topic at hand. The type of author I have in mind would slide smoothly from A to B to C in a single sentence or paragraph regardless of the damage it does to the cohesion of the paragraph.

In short, I guess you could say such an author has a penchant for adding fifth-wheel ideas.

Some bad alternatives crossed my mind.

It is kind of like "logorrhea," except it's not about verbosity, it's about ideas. Apparently "idearrhea" already exists (informally) but does not really have the connotation I'm interested in. The type of author I have in mind is capable of writing clear individual statements, but they apparently have trouble evaluating what to mention and what to omit.

I think this word or phrase would be useful because I think it is a common affliction in poor student writing. A student writing for a prompt may write the entire document in one pass, spewing ideas down onto the page as they came into mind. If the student then didn't proofread for clarity of presentation of ideas, I can easily imagine this pattern of awkward chains emerging.

  • 2
    Sounds like "rambling" to me. May 21, 2014 at 14:14
  • @DigitalChris Yes, I think it could be generally classified as rambling, but if there is a way to specialize to exclude more egregious forms of rambling, I would really like that :)
    – rschwieb
    May 21, 2014 at 14:16
  • Maybe more to the point, confronting an author with feedback that is simply "this is rambling too much" will probably evoke a counterproductive response since the word is not narrow enough to express what I mean.
    – rschwieb
    May 21, 2014 at 14:56

3 Answers 3


I would describe such writing as unfocused and the ideas as scattered.


I would describe such writing as tangential and would also say that it lacks editing.


Verbiage. Or a brain dump

(Body must be at least 30 characters. I need some verbiage too, it seems)

  • A better way to fill the body would have been to provide examples and links to dictionary definitions or usages in the wild. Please take some time to review the help center for guidance on how to contribute here.
    – choster
    Oct 8, 2014 at 17:48

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