What do you say when someone uses many words, without getting to the point and without saying something really of value with regard to a particular topic? I'd like to emphasize that it's really a lengthy statement with only little content which is actually relevant to what has been asked. It can seem sophisticated, but when you look closely it's either trivial conclusions or doesn't even answer the question.

I've heard the expression "mental masturbation", but maybe there are better ones.

EDIT: It is not merely lengthy or long-winded. It is rather off-topic or not relevant. It can be rather focussed and condensed - just on things which are irrelevant. Often the talker believes he is being very clever by mentioning complicating stuff.

  • 1
    As the vaqueros say, Beware of the bull of the pompous. Dec 9, 2015 at 22:42
  • 3
    Rhetoric and sophistry can both be used in a negative (disparaging) sense to describe this. In some contexts "spin" is appropriate as well.
    – Cargill
    Dec 10, 2015 at 0:28
  • @EdwinAshworth that one was looking for a word (noun/adj) to describe the sentence, here we're looking for an expression of the use (verb). For example, "to talk out of one's ass" works as a potential answer here, but doesn't work for the potential duplicate. Dec 10, 2015 at 6:10
  • @guifa We're looking for a verb? Who is this 'we' (it sounds singular to me).OP adds the suggestion-to-be-improved-upon-if-possible "mental masturbation", which I'll think you might agree is not a verb. The answers at the previous question can in the main (or even must) be applied to the manner of speaking rather than just a particular sentence. Dec 10, 2015 at 12:25
  • The answer might be more than a verb, but the point is we are looking at woffling with little content. The previous question was more about a single sentence being void. I don't get the "verb" statement from guifa, but his example is the right direction.
    – Gere
    Dec 10, 2015 at 12:51

2 Answers 2


Why not bloviate

Talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.

Oxford Dictionaries Online

If you need a noun, bloviation is available

  • If this is a rhetorical context, I think there's also a named logical fallacy involving arguments meant to beat down an opponent with excessive wordiness and vocabulary; I just can't think of what it is or find it right now. Dec 10, 2015 at 21:30
  • @TrevorBrown Maybe proof by verbosity or proof by intimidation
    – bib
    Dec 10, 2015 at 22:24

In technical circles, I have always called that content-free.

The salesman presented for more an hour, but the part about the product's strengths was content-free.

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