Imagine the following scenario:

Charlie walks into a chess club, where Alice and Bob are playing a casual chess game.

Alice: Hi Charlie, do you think I should move the rook or the bishop?

Charlie: According to the Heideggerian phenomenology, chess is a process of Seinsvergessenheit which involves an individual's Existenzialien. (Blah Blah Blah) therefore there is no such a thing as 'should' and the concept of 'move' is also undefined. Also, there is no difference between a rook and a bishop.

We will suppose here that Charlie does NOT know the strategies of chess game (or any philosophy at all) and is talking in terms of philosophy (which I, personally, I admit, am not acquainted with but nonetheless genuinely respect) only to cover up his lack of knowledge. (The Heidegger stuff is just some random nonsense I put up as an example of what might be involved in this tirade.)

What is a word that can be used to describe Charlie's action in this scenario?

Thank you for your consideration.

  • 4
    I'd say "He's talking Stack Exchange." Oct 25, 2015 at 14:03

9 Answers 9


I'd say his remarks are obfuscatory; he's engaging in deliberate obfuscation.

  • I'm having trouble trying to pronounce that. ob-fuh-SKATE-uh-ree or ob-FUS-kuh-tor-ee? Both are embarrassing.
    – Mitch
    Feb 20, 2020 at 20:09
  • 1
    @Mitch - Oh, you're not meant to say it, it's strictly for written obfuscation (-:
    – Jim Mack
    Feb 21, 2020 at 0:22

bluffing (or one of its synonyms)

1. try to deceive someone as to one's abilities or intentions. "he's been bluffing all along" synonyms: pretend, sham, fake, feign, put on an act, put it on, lie, hoax, pose, posture, masquerade, dissemble, dissimulate;
Oxford Dictionaries


to ​try to ​persuade someone or make them ​admire you by saying things that are not ​true: You're bullshitting me! Quit bullshitting, will you!
Cambridge Dictionaries Online

As the question specifically mention chess, you may be interested in this publication.

The Bluffer's Guide to Chess: Bluff Your Way in Chess (Bluffer Guides) Paperback – Nov 1993 By Brian Malpass


The person is being logorrheic, derived from the noun logorrhea meaning

  1. pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech.
  2. incessant or compulsive talkativeness; wearisome volubility.

OR bloviate

verb: Talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way. E.g.

  • Until this is corrected, a president and secretary of state bloviating about freedom and democracy is received by the rest of the world as mere window-dressing.
    Oxford Dictionaries

The person deliberately chooses obscure terms in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge.

equivocate (verb)
Use ambiguous language so as to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself:

  • The law students squirmed and equivocated to avoid confronting my question
    Oxford Dictionaries


The person is an ultracrepidarian, a person who speaks at length about a subject without having any real knowledge.


He's talking applesauce, i.e. spilling irrelevant flim flam to get a grip on things he has no or little knowledge of.

applesauce: (North American Informal) nonsense OED

Alternately, consider he's baffling them with bull.

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull. W. C. Fields Brainy Quote

"Bull", meaning nonsense, dates from the 17th century, while the term "bullshit" has been used as early as 1915 in American slang, and came into popular usage only during World War II. The word "bull" itself may have derived from the Old French boul meaning "fraud, deceit". The term "horseshit" is a near synonym. The South African English equivalent is "bull dust".

The earliest attestation mentioned by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is in fact T. S. Eliot, who between 1910 and 1916 wrote an early poem to which he gave the title "The Triumph of Bullshit", written in the form of a ballade. The word bullshit does not appear in the text of the poem, and Eliot himself never published the poem.[3]

As to earlier etymology the Oxford English Dictionary cites bull with the meaning "trivial, insincere, untruthful talk or writing, nonsense". It describes this usage as being of unknown origin, but notes that in Old French, the word could mean "boul, boule, bole fraud, deceit, trickery; mod. Icel bull 'nonsense'; also ME bull BUL 'falsehood', and BULL verb, to befool, mock, cheat."

Although there is no confirmed etymological connection, it should be noted that these older meanings are synonymous with the modern expression "bull", generally considered and used as a contraction of "bullshit" Wikipedia


One related U.S. English phrase that I sometimes hear is "talking through [one's] hat." Here is the entry for that phrase in Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997):

talk through one's hat Talk nonsense; also, hold forth about something one knows very little about. For example, He was talking through his hat when he described the shipwreck, or Mother went on and on about various screwdrivers but in fact she was talking through her hat. The allusion in this idiom makes no sense either, which may be the point. {Late 1800s}


There are two that fit best:

"He's talking gibberish." http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gibberish?s=t (Meaningless or unintelligible talk or writing.)

"He saying a bunch of mumbo jumbo." http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mumbo-jumbo?s=t (Senseless or pretentious language, usually designed to obscure an issue, confuse a listener or the like.)

  • 1
    Tough crowd! (but then again “tough anonymous down-voting” is clearly oxymoronic, not to mention moronic, so maybe it’s not so tough after all) Regardless, +1 for “xxx-ing gibberish,” which is what first came to my mind (although I’d probably have paired it with “spouting” instead of “talking").
    – Papa Poule
    Oct 25, 2015 at 22:42

He uses a pseudo-scientific jargon covering up his [own] incompetence.

"Jargon" definition: unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish; any talk or writing that one does not understand; language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning.

To "cover up" means to hide or screen from view or knowledge; conceal. For example, he tried to cover up his mistakes.

"Incompetence" is lack of the ability or knowledge to succesfully carry out a task.


'to blind someone with science'

blind somebody with science (British & Australian)
if you blind someone with science, you confuse them by using technical language that they are not likely to understand
I think he decided to blind us with science because he didn't want us asking any difficult questions. theFreeDictionary

  • 1
    And this has been downvoted why? This means exactly what the OP is asking for. Would someone care to explain? Oct 26, 2015 at 8:39

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