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What is the different between loquacious and talkative? I don't see much different in their definition:

Loquacious: tending to talk a great deal; talkative.
Talkative: fond of or given to talking.

Regarding M-W Dictionary, they are different as follow:

Talkative may imply a readiness to engage in talk or a disposition to enjoy conversation .
Loquacious suggests the power of expressing oneself articulately, fluently, or glibly

But I don't see the different. Isn't that anyone who is talkative is also having an ability to talk fluently, therefore matching the description of talkative? Is it true that loquacious has the same meaning of talkative?

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    The number of people who know what loquacious means is very much smaller than the number who know what talkative means.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:58
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    The definition that you listed for loquatious quite clearly states that it is identical in meaning to talkative. Your word choice would depend on the audience. Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 18:02
  • There are no exact synonyms. There are instances where you could use one but definitely not the other.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 18:28
  • I would tend to imagine a "loquacious" person as being a bit flamboyant in his speech patterns, whereas a "talkative" person simply talks a lot. But I have no idea whether others would view it the same way.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 22:46

5 Answers 5

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Since no one has yet addressed your question about the Merriam-Webster's explanation, I will.

To repeat, the Merriam-Webster says this:

talkative, loquacious, garrulous, voluble mean given to talk or talking.
talkative may imply a readiness to engage in talk or a disposition to enjoy conversation.

a talkative neighbor

loquacious suggests the power of expressing oneself articulately, fluently, or glibly.

a loquacious spokesperson

Then you ask,

But I don't see the difference. Isn't it the case that anyone who is talkative also has the ability to talk fluently, therefore matching the description of talkative? Is it true that loquacious has the same meaning of talkative?

Well, no.

It is perfectly possible for there to be a person who tends to enjoys conversation (so is talkative) but who has no power to express themselves either articulately, or fluently, or glibly (and so is not loquacious). In fact, I'd wager that most of us know people like that! They jump at every chance to strike up a conversation, but are by no means skilled at expressing themselves, and we may have trouble understanding half of what they are trying to say.

Conversely, it is also possible that someone is very articulate (or fluent or glib) when talking, but who actually usually doesn't talk to people for mere enjoyment of conversation. On the contrary, this person usually approaches people with a particular goal in mind, such as convincing them to support some cause or participate in some action or form a certain belief. Such a person we wouldn't necessarily call talkative, but we might call them loquacious.

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They are essentially synonyms, the following extract suggests that loquacious has a more negative connotation than talkative and is less common as shown in Ngram:

Talkative:

  • Our starting word, “talkative,” should describe somebody who likes to talk frequently or at length. Interestingly, talkative can be used with either a positive or negative connotation, but, for the most part, it’s a fairly positive word. I could say “My talkative friend easily navigates from conversation to conversation;” here, the word “talkative” suggests my friend is a facile communicator. Conversely, I could say “After only one drink, Suzie became very talkative;” here, the word has a gently negative connotation.

Loquacious:

  • Loquacious implies an inclination to talk incessantly or to keep up a constant flow of chatter. For example, “John, a loquacious investment banker, never tired of exhausting his dinner guests with self-indulgent chatter.” Notice that loquacious doesn’t have the versatility that talkative has–it’s always negative. For that reason, it’s a more precise word.

grockit.com/blog/vocabulary

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    I would disagree that talkative is positive. It's at best, neutral.
    – Hack Saw
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 18:47
  • Since "loquacious" is an uncommon word, even people who more or less know its meaning might not be aware of any positive or negative connotations. In fact its apparent similarity to "eloquent" might even impart a positive connotation to some. "Talkative" is neutral or negative to me, and I would use something like "outgoing" instead to refer to such a person in a positive way. Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 13:29
  • @ghostarbeiter - less common probably, but not as uncommon as you suggest. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – user66974
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 13:33
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From Dictionary.com:

Talkative, garrulous, loquacious characterize a person who talks a great deal. Talkative is a neutral or mildly unfavorable word applied to a person who is inclined to talk a great deal, sometimes without significance: a talkative child.The garrulous person talks with wearisome persistence, usually about personal and trivial things: a garrulous old man.A loquacious person, intending to be sociable, talks continuously and at length: a loquacious host.

As Hack Saw says, talkative is not generally positive. It is, in my opinion, unfavorable more often than neutral, especially from my point of view as a teacher.

And of course, you must consider that talkative will be understood by far more people than loquacious will.

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  • In your example of a loquacious host, can you describe more detail about them? For example, are they talking in the way that annoying the audience? Is loquacious a negative word?
    – Ooker
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 13:10
  • Loquacious is not generally thought of as negative. A loquacious speaker is one who is comfortable with words, and uses them effectively. It can connote someone who talks to excess, which might be annoying, but I don't think it is built into the meaning of the word. Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 1:08
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I would say that the main difference is in their delivery; perhaps you could say the "quality" of the speaker's word choices or sentences. For example, a "talkative" person would be one whose speaks simply, and uses more common terminology or better known synonyms. A "loquacious" speaker would use lesser known terms, "fancier" pronunciations (think 'vahz' rather than 'vase') or words that most people haven't seen since they studied for the SAT. A "garrulous" person speaks frequently, but seldom has anything positive or upbeat to contribute...a talkative "Debbie Downer" if you will.

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  • Hello, Annie. On ELU, 'answers' that come across as (or are) opinion, usually because they lack supporting evidence, are not usually all that helpful. Check the other 'answers' (and Katherine Lockwood's 'comment'). Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 0:39
  • I don't think pronouncing vase as vahz is "fancy", it's the normal way to pronounce it where I live.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 7:32
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A talkative person talks a lot but, a loquacious person talks with more details and are animated to paint a visual picture for their audience to create emotion.

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