There's a single word that I can't remember what it is.. the word I'm looking for is when there are many choices/points but no substance or not good enough. For example:

  1. too many kinds of food/dishes in a buffet but none that stands out.
  2. too many suggestions or ideas but none that is good or workable.
  3. many awards or praises but really hasn't achieved much.
  4. many features but none is useful or what you need.

The word is not hype nor bells and whistle..

  • Maybe 'average': the usual or ordinary kind or quality.
    – user66974
    Feb 26, 2015 at 9:12
  • Don't know how you would do it in one word, but I would perhaps call it a plenitude of mediocrity. (Some dictionaries allow plentitude, but that spelling is now rare).
    – WS2
    Feb 26, 2015 at 9:49
  • 2
    Never mind the quality, feel the width is an expression for this sort of thing, but I can't think of a single word for it at the moment. Feb 26, 2015 at 10:06
  • Plethora perhaps?
    – Frank
    Feb 26, 2015 at 11:09
  • Can you remember any more details? Is it long or short, polite or rude, neutral or judgemental? Does it describe the choices themselves, or the overall situation? Does it have any emphasis - maybe that there's WAY TOO MANY (deluge, flood, superfluity, overabundance, surplus) or is it neutral or good ("pile them high, sell 'em cheap") or emphasising that the thing did not live up to expectations, or emphasizing that someone was trying to make it look better than it really is (overselling, exaggerating the good qualities) ? Feb 26, 2015 at 21:34

5 Answers 5


Perhaps mediocre is the word you're looking for, although it doesn't cover the aspect of there being a wide choice available.

of only moderate quality; not very good.

Not exactly a one word solution but seeing the OP excluded the idiom "bells and whistles", I'd like to suggest the following hyphenated compound.

Something that is run-of-the-mill is a common, everyday, ordinary item that does not stand out from all the rest. In other words, something or someone that is "run-of-the-mill" is probably not notable. (...)

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The Wikipedia page then goes into detail explaining why it is unnecessary to write an article for every single sportsperson

It has already been accepted that professional athletes, regardless of their accomplishments in their field, may receive coverage. But local newspapers also cover high school and college athletes. In every city and town, there are several high schools and colleges and papers that cover them. So inevitably, these athletes will receive coverage.

As for professional sport, each game will receive in-depth coverage from the local papers of the team's city, and at the very least, a box score from papers elsewhere. Each professional sports league has plenty of teams (some have more than 30), and a sports season has many games (Major League Baseball has 162 per season). It is not practical to have an article on every game ever played.


The aspect of there being a wide choice available could perhaps be captured by meaning #2 of "smorgasbord": a large mixture of many different things.

Depending on one's general opinion of the quality of buffet-style, as opposed to sit-down dining, perhaps "smorgasbord" used alone could also capture the "nothing special" aspect of the word you seek, but it's probably going to require adding any one of the good synonyms for "nothing special" given as answers so far:

a smorgasbord of [mediocre/monotonous/commonplace/run-of-the-mill] foods/ideas/awards/features


a [mediocre/monotonous/commonplace/run-of-the-mill] smorgasbord of foods/ideas/awards/features.

Several synonyms of "smorgasbord" have a slight degree of built-in negativity (e.g., "hodgepodge" and "ragbag") and you could consider them, but they probably capture more the neutral notion of "random mixture" than the negative notion of "nothing special" that you seek.


commonplace indicates that it also common and also average/mediocre/pedestrian etc.

Edit to add reference - autocompletion from google results the following


1. not unusual; ordinary. "unemployment was commonplace in his trade" synonyms: ordinary, run-of-the-mill, middle-of-the-road, mainstream, unremarkable, unexceptional, undistinguished, uninspired, unexciting, unmemorable, forgettable, indifferent, average, so-so, mediocre, pedestrian, prosaic, lacklustre, dull, bland, uninteresting, mundane, everyday, quotidian, humdrum, hackneyed, trite, banal, clichéd, predictable, overused, overdone, overworked, stale, worn out, time-worn, tired, unoriginal, derivative; antonyms: outstanding, original, unusual not interesting or original; trite. "the usual commonplace remarks" noun noun: commonplace; plural noun: commonplaces
1. a usual or ordinary thing. "bombing has become almost a commonplace of public life there" synonyms: everyday thing/event;
a trite saying or topic; a platitude. "it is a commonplace to talk of the young being alienated" synonyms: platitude, cliché, truism, hackneyed/trite/banal/overworked saying, stock phrase, old chestnut, banality, bromide "he had a great store of commonplaces which he adapted to any subject"
2. a notable passage in a work copied into a commonplace book.

  • Your answer would be greatly improved by the inclusion of some sources and some examples to help draw out the nuance. Otherwise this is just arbitrary assertion.
    – 568ml
    Feb 26, 2015 at 16:22

Maybe the word you're looking for is mediocre or medium:

  • The buffet has a medium quality of food.
  • This software has many mediocre features.

To express the sense of quantity over quality the OP is seeking, i'd suggest monotonous or commonplace or perhaps ubiquitous.

  • Monotonous proposals
  • Commonplace desserts
  • Ubiquitous silver minivans

Oh! Of course it came after submission. One can have a glut of all the above.

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