Is there an adjective that describes a person who changes the subjects a lot? As in, conversation subjects.

EDIT: I found the word "discursive" which means to digress from topic to topic. Considering people tend to digress subconsciously this isn't 100% what I was looking for but it will do. Thanks to those who tried helping.

  • In a single conversation. Like, the person constantly changes the topic. I already know there's a word for it, I'm just having trouble remembering it. – spliticon Sep 21 '15 at 19:59
  • I would probably use motormouth, but it is not specific to changing subjects. – jxh Sep 21 '15 at 20:03
  • Scatterbrain sort of works. Scattermouth is out there too with about the meaning you're looking for: verbotomy.com/verbottle.php?jargonism_id=11991 It doesn't look to have made it into any of the major dictionaries yet. – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 21 '15 at 20:28
  • Short attention span? – WS2 Sep 21 '15 at 20:40
  • Sorry, none of these are the words I'm looking for. :/ – spliticon Sep 21 '15 at 20:40

A somewhat broader term that might suit, depending on the circumstances, is flibbertigibbet

A frivolous, flighty, or excessively talkative person.

Oxford Dictionaries Online

Also, the term scattershot could be applied to the discourse (but not the person)

Covering a wide range in a random way; indiscriminate: "his habit of scattershot comment on whatever issue catches his eye" (Howell Raines).

American Heritage Dictionary


Flighty? Unfocused? Undisciplined? To some extent it depends on the kind of conversation; I'd only use "undisciplined" if the discussion was professional.

  • The person is intentionally changing the conversation. It's not done out of a lack of responses, confusion or an act of subconsciousness, it's just something they do a lot. – spliticon Sep 21 '15 at 21:44

It's not a single word, but the correct term for switching from topic to topic or being unable stay on topic is:

poor topic maintenance

"she had poor topic maintenance" is correct.

This is something I commonly see as a speech language pathologist; it is considered a pragmatic language deficit.


Is a colloquial term but "scatterbrain" nails it.


Yes, adhd/add. You could just use attention deficient. Maybe just pull the person aside and mention this tendency and suggest they talk to a doctor about it.

protected by tchrist Sep 27 '16 at 19:34

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