Someone dominates a conversation by not letting others get a word in. I'm thinking its a combination of snow job and fillibuster (though not political in nature).

EDIT: to clarify, Not quite a long tedious speech; Speaker prompts a response but doesnt actually allow the response to be heard because the speaker begins talking again as if the response was heard.


15 Answers 15


I would say "He monopolised the conversation"

or "Insisted on taking centre stage the whole time"

I have also heard family members say "He was holding court" - which I think is a commonly used sarcastic reference to the way a Judge commands the attention of everyone in court .

  • 4
    Traditionally, "holding court" refers to what is done by a king, not a judge.
    – Random832
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 4:01
  • "holding court" has been democratized and is now an idiomatic phrase meaning "commanding the attention" of whoever. Kings & judges are no longer required.
    – user98990
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 5:37
  • @Random832: Judging was one of the primary functions of a king. Everyone else who did it was exercising delegated powers. This is why a tribunal is called a "court', because originally it was the royal court. Elected judges are very much historical outliers.
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 12:17
  • +1 - Monopolise was the word that first came to mind for me... Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 16:47
  • Interesting comments above about 'holding court' in the sense of a King (or Queen?) - Also makes sense if you consider the wider (non-legal) meaning of the word 'court' in the case of Royalty ie in the sense of - those people who are invited to hang around with the Royals in their household - so 'holding court' would in that sense be the Monarch sitting in their throne room , attempting to be the centre of attention to the invited set of admirers/hangers-on.
    – Judy D
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 11:46

Monologue is a good general descriptor:

1.1 A long, tedious speech by one person during a conversation:


Depending on the content of the domination, lecture might work better

2 A long serious speech, especially one given as a scolding or reprimand:


  • Not quite a long tedious speech; Speaker prompts a response but doesnt actually allow the response to be heard because the speaker begins talking again as if the response was heard.
    – V1GG3N
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:07
  • For the sake of others who may answer, @V1GG3N you may want to edit your original post to indicate that specific detail.
    – ScotM
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:25

Harangue would fit if the speaker exhibited an aggressive or critical demeanor:


A lengthy and aggressive speech:

  • I've never heard it but this word is used in the description of the McLaughlin Group SNL skit, so it's obviously the correct answer, right?
    – Mazura
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 7:24

The idiom hold forth implies talking for a long time about a subject that interests the speaker but not necessarily the audience.

Hold forth: to talk at great length; harangue

When we left, he was still holding forth on World War II.


I first came across this phrase in Stephen King's novel The Tommyknockers, where it's used to describe a character drunkenly ranting about nuclear power long after everyone else at the party wished he'd stop.


Palaver has a broad range of connotations, but it's basically a long talk:


[MASS NOUN] 1 Prolonged and tedious fuss or discussion:

The Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary reveals the broad usage in various contexts:

1. profuse and idle talk; chatter.
2. persuasive talk; flattery; cajolery.
3. a conference or discussion, orig. one between European traders, explorers, etc., and people indigenous to a region, esp. in Africa.

4. to talk profusely and idly.
5. to confer.

6. to cajole or persuade.

The OP seems to be looking toward the second noun definition with connotations from verbal definition 6, and a hint of verbal definition 4. If there is a pretense of conversation, palaver is particularly useful.

Gab tends toward idle chatter but might work:


Talk; chatter:


There is bulldozing in slang.

The act of completely dominating a conversation, whether amongst a crowd or an intimate conversation. the "Bulldozer" can be anyone, inebriated or not, so long as everyone else that has something can't, simply because the said person just talks louder to drown them out.





  1. Given to excessive and often trivial or rambling talk; tiresomely talkative.
  2. Wordy and rambling: a garrulous speech.

For me, "monopolize" comes to mind immediately and seems to the point and most appropriate without going overboard or being bullish.

There are those who seem naturally adept at monopolizing conversations by raising their voice just as someone begins to speak, interact or add information.


Domineering. "I have bookclub tonight and really hope that domineering woman is not there."

  • 3
    An apt answer. Can you copy in the definition of "domineering" from your favorite dictionary (make sure to mention which dictionary!).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 20:16

Domineering was the first that came to mind, and is synonymous with overbearing. Domineering seems to equate best with ".. dominates the .."


Pontification is a good fit here

Merriam-Webster says:

to speak or express opinions in a pompous or dogmatic way

Loquacious Also from Merriam-Webster,

full of excessive talk : wordy

Aaaaand one emore:


to speak or write verbosely and windily




  1. someone who talks incessantly; "I wish that motormouth would shut up"
  • 1
    As your definition states, this does not necessarily describe one that dominates a conversation.
    – Dog Lover
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 22:10
  • 3
    @DogLover I find it impossible to have a conversation with someone that talks without interruption, so I suppose you are right in that there would be no conversation to dominate.
    – amdn
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 22:18

To address the detail you added in your edit, an insincere prompt for response is often called a rhetorical question. This is a question designed not to solicit information that might change the course of the conversation, but to guide the listener to ask themselves the question and formulate an answer internally. The asker might then proceed to specify the answer they believe to be best and discuss it as part of the point they're trying to reach. For this to work, the rhetorical question tends to be simple and common-sensical, ideally requiring at most trivial reasoning to answer.


After the brief initial exchange on the phone call, Buzz commandeered the conversation in his typical monologue fashion.

  • 1
    Unfortunately, that has already been offered as an answer. It's the second most upvoted one. Excellent example sentence, though! Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 22:01

The word "screed" is defined as a "long, monotonous harangue" and is similar to some of the suggestions made here.

"We tired of listening to his screed."

To "pontificate" also carries the connotation of blabbing on and on while monopolizing the conversation.

  • Can you add links to definitions to help the asker easily find them?
    – Nicole
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 13:43
  • What do you mean? As in, "See Webster's"? Commented May 14, 2015 at 17:09
  • As in, link to an online dictionary for that word
    – Nicole
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 17:14

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