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Take the following statement:

I hate the ease with which X makes disparaging remarks about their rivals without the least concern as to whether they are truthful or fair.

Now I would like a word expressing this lack of concern, so that I could just plug it in the blank below and keep the meaning of the sentence above:

I hate the _________ with which X makes disparaging remarks about their rivals.

This is an all too common attitude and I think it deserves a name of its own. The word that came to my mind was levity, but I haven’t come across this word very often and I’m not sure of its particular tones and shades of meaning. Merriam-Webster defines levity as:

Simple definition
: a lack of seriousness
: an amusing quality
Full definition
1 : excessive or unseemly frivolity
2 : lack of steadiness: changeableness

The attitude I’m trying to name certainly displays lack of seriousness as to the truthfulness and fairness of the remarks, but I do not want to imply they are made in jest or that X is being silly or thoughtless. X could be very serious about their aims: “I’m going to say this; don’t give a dam whether that’s true or not; even if it’s not true I’ll get away with it.” This excludes, I think, all the words Merriam-Webster lists as related to levity, which probably means it excludes levity too:

facetiousness, flightiness, flippancy, frivolousness, frothiness, frivolity, light-headedness, light-mindedness, lightness, silliness

So I’ll accept an answer that despite my reservations shows that one of these words is indeed the one that works best in the sentence above; or gives a more fitting word; or shows that no word really fits (I am of course aware of the difficulties of proving a negative).

I prefer a single word but I’m willing to trade singleness for meaning: so I would take a short phrase it fits better than any single word.

Update

I’m spoilt for choice. But I wonder whether the various suggestions implying lack of concern would in my sentence imply lack of concern specifically for truth, which is what I’m after, or could instead be interpreted as lack of regard for norms of polite behaviour, rival’s feelings, or consequences (say, libel lawsuits, rivals reacting with violence, people feeling encouraged to attack the rivals, etc.)

Tweak the example sentence if it helps (say, I hate the ____ of X’s remarks).

14 Answers 14

40

Consider the adjective cavalier

Showing arrogant or offhand disregard; dismissive: a cavalier attitude toward the suffering of others.

American Heritage Dictionary

While the noun, cavalierness is occasionally found, the adjectival use is much more common, often used in the phrase cavalier attitude.

The example given could be rephrased to use the adjective as follows

I hate the cavalier manner [or cavalier attitude] X displays in making disparaging remarks about their rivals

14

What an opportunity to use a word everyone loves but never gets to use!

insouciance (ODO): showing a casual lack of concern; indifference.

And, as suggested by that definition, you have the synonym indifference.

Or, we can turn to those masters of ennui, the French, and offer blase and blithe, though for this use, the former smacks too much of jadednesses, for my taste, and on the other hand, the latter may be too chipper.

So, maybe a good compromise is the wholly unenthusiastic nonchalance.

11

Someone who has no concern about the veracity of their remarks is certainly reckless and indulges in reckless speech.

  • Reckless speech comes with potential dangers. I doubt there are many people oblivious of the fact that freedom of speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The part of the Amendment that is specifically directed to our citizens, which is the focus of this article, says that “Congress shall make no law ... abridging freedom of speech.” This is to say that our government shall not constrain the speech of citizens willy-nilly. It is noteworthy that this First Amendment forbidding government abridgment of freedom of speech of citizens is not absolute. The Supreme Court of the United States’ interpretation delineates speeches that are not protected and those with limited protection.

  • These categories may include, but not limited to incitement, obscenity, false statements, speeches laden with fighting words, etc., which are unprotected; defamation, commercial speech, speech harmful to children, etc., which have limited protection. It is, therefore, no surprise that some of what we do or say directed at others may not be protected by the First Amendment.

  • reckless - adj -having or showing no regard for danger or consequences, heedless, rash. "recklessness" (noun)

  • I disagree with the use of reckless here. Indeed, his lack of concern here about the truthfulness of this or that may be calculated. I can see why you would use it but if it's a question of veracity and purposefulness then I see better words. What about deviousness. – user116032 Mar 18 '16 at 1:09
  • Ditto, reckless here is misused. – Lambie Mar 19 '16 at 13:06
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Jacinto, I submit to you the word casualness.

lack of interest or concern

"Her casualness distressed everyone who took the issue seriously."

"I hate the casualness with which X makes disparaging remarks about their rivals."

Or possibly aloofness.

at a distance

Finally, if you want to emphasise the cruelty of the lack of seriousness, you have callousness

not feeling or showing any concern about the problems or suffering of other people

"I hate the callousness with which X makes disparaging remarks about their rivals."

9

glibness - I hate the glibness with which ....

Merriam Webster:

Full Definition of glib

1 a : marked by ease and informality : nonchalant ****b : showing little forethought or preparation : offhand c : lacking depth and substance : superficial **** [...]

glib·ly adverb glib·ness noun

  • 1
    I didn't know this word. And I like it. The combination of definitions a and c sounds right. But your formatting is atrocious indeed. What are all those stars doing there? – Jacinto Mar 19 '16 at 13:08
5

My first thought was scurrilousness.

scurrilous

said or done unfairly to make people have a bad opinion of someone

Perhaps brazenness?

brazen:

 :acting or done in a very open and shocking way without shame or embarrassment

 :marked by contemptuous boldness

I think unabashed, unapologetic, calumnious ,and aspersive are all words that have some value in this context, but none of them translate into nouns too well (unabashedness?, aspersivity??), so the sentence would have to be rewritten.

I mostly prefer scurrilousness because it conjures up an image for me of a small rodent scurrying around which seems appropriate given your explanation of who you're describing.

5

This sort of speech is actually the subject of a book of philospohy, "On Bullshit", by Harry G. Frankfurt. Callousness and cavalierness do seem very close. I think recklessness is the closest, or maybe flippancy or rashness, from Centaurus.

But Jacinto is being very specific in wanting to know a word that describes the cavalier way in which a devil-may-care bullshitter speaks. A bullshitter speaks not as a liar but as in a way that sounds truthy without concern for truth. I am betting that there is a german word for it - some cousin of "schadenfreude"!

OP is asking about the style of delivery of the type of speech, not a description of the content of the speech. I still believe recklessness fits the best for a single word to plug in, but you could also possibly jigger in "reckless way" or "cavalier way".

3

Indiscretion

Your subject is showing a lack of discretion, or indiscretion, about the truthfulness of his statements.

I hate the indiscretion with which X makes disparaging remarks about his / her rivals.

That would be my choice.

Others include recklessness (emphasizing carelessness) and imbecility (more derogatory, implying stupidity).

1

I think I'd use superficiality:

  • the quality of affecting only the outer part or surface of something : not deep or serious.

also carelessness:

  • the state of being indifferent, unconcerned : careless of the consequences.

(M-W)

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offhandedness

offhand

cavalierly, curtly, or brusquely: to reply offhand.

without previous thought or preparation; extempore: to decide offhand to take a trip.

Random House

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A word that is a synonym for "dishonesty" might be good here, if your aim is to make a disparaging mark about X's truthfulness, without explicitly calling him out as a liar.

In this case, dishonesty, deceit, deceitfulness, deception, duplicity, fraudulence, trickery, deviousness, slyness, wiliness, guile, treachery, crookedness, underhandedness...

I like "slyness", myself, but that's sort of the exact opposite of the meaning of casual and thoughtless falsehood that I think you are aiming for here. So simple "dishonesty" itself may be the better fit, or perhaps a compound term like casual dishonesty or blithe duplicity, using two terms to specify separately the falsehood and the lack of care.

You could also refer to the impudence, immodesty or impropriety with which they level their base claims.

Another term that could fit (with a slight change in phrasing) is dishonorable way, since a lack of honor implies a lack of truth, without actually calling it out explicitly (since the term could instead be meaning a lack of fair play), and it lacks the overtones of sly intent that most synonyms for lying connote: "I hate the dishonorable way that X makes disparaging remarks about their rivals." Other similar words (sleazy) could work well here too. But these are not good answers to the question as asked.

NB: As always with a phrase like this, beware that it may reflect back on you as hypocrisy. You are essentially saying "I hate the way X says bad things about people" which is you saying a bad thing about X. The best term to use, then, may be nothing at all.

1

I think the word Bloviate works well for this purpose.

Bloviate (v): Talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.

As you can see, this implies a certain disregard for what you are saying, and has the connotation that the style is more important than the substance of what they are saying.

Unfortunately this word doesn't fit well into your sentence as you constructed it since there is no adjectival version of bloviate (only verb "to bloviate" and noun "bloviation"), however, I think it would be easy for you to change up the sentence structure to make use of it.

Examples of use:

X's disparaging remarks about their rivals is just bloviation

or

X is bloviating when (he/she) makes disparaging remarks about (his/her) rivals

1

Mockery just occurred to me. "I hate the mockery with which somebody says X about Y" conveys the message fairly well, in my opinion. Mockery includes the capacity for telling deliberate untruths, and gets across a certain smugness, a sense of security.

  • Marcus, true, mockery includes the capacity for telling deliberate untruths; but it also includes the capacity for telling truths. In fact I find thruthful mockery is the most stinging. And you can tell deliberate lies, or stuff you dont't even stop to think whether it is true or false (which is what I ask about), without the slightest hint of mockery. So mockery and the lack of concern for truth are not the same. – Jacinto Oct 25 at 16:56
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"her airy unconcern for economy"

"he's always full of airy promises"

Airy

having a light or careless quality that shows a lack of concern

In your case,

"I hate the airy unconcern with which X makes disparaging remarks about their rivals."

Or

"I hate the airiness with which X makes disparaging remarks about their rivals."

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