Example 1 - When reviewing résumés I don't want someone to use 1.5 pages to describe one job.

Example 2 - When a person uses excessive description to answer a simple question.

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    Technically, the documents have "low information density".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 18:41
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    (Or, if you want to get even more technical, "high entropy".)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 19:13
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    When describing someone who elaborates beyond necessity, I've heard it said: "Ask him for the time and he'll tell you how to build a clock". (-:
    – Jim Mack
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:41
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    StenevL, The word you're looking for is "long". As in "the cv is too long" or the "description is too long". Nothing else is needed here. Indeed anything else would be too long.
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 19:33

13 Answers 13


Taking a page from Araucaria, I'd suggest long-winded:

using too many words in speaking or writing
from m-w.com

So you could say, for example:

I don't like such long-winded resumes.
He gave a really long-winded answer to what I meant as a simple question.
Pat's long-windedness can be really off-putting.

  • 1
    long-winded is long-winded. Just say "long".
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 19:33
  • @JoeBlow Wow! 12 answers, I'm getting winded just looking at them!
    – user126158
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 22:48
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    @Fattie: the joke itself aside, there is a difference here. "Long-winded" carries the connotation of it being longer than would have been necessary, whereas "long" can be an objective measure of length without carrying the connotation of being too long. In that sense, "long-winded" is not long-winded.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 9:57

Using the word verbose may work for you, for example:

"For a 1 mark question, your answer was verbose."

As antonyms, you could use laconic or concise, e.g.

"Credit will be given for a concise description of the problem."

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    I would like to add that verbosity is not inherently bad; overly verbose would be a much clearer term. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 21:21
  • Funny, I know "verbose" as a term used in programming. Some logging tools have filters so you only see what you're looking for, setting it to "verbose" means you see everything without filtering out anything you don't need :)
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 6:51
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    Stephan: Given verbose means more words than needed, I think overly verbose is not required, but I think it's quite common. My favourite annoyance is "very true"!
    – Jon
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 17:12
  • I totally agree with you.
    – user126158
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 22:49

Adding to other good suggestions, when someone uses too many (unnecessary) words for a simple description, the adjective wordy could be used which means:

Using or expressed in rather too many words: 'a wordy and repetitive account'
from Lexico.com

Example: Is your resume too wordy? and Ways to Tighten the Too-Wordy Resume


Some great answers here.

In engineering we would say that the resume had a low signal to noise ratio. It's a fairly derogatory term for something or someone that is unnecessarily verbose.

  • Signal to noise ratio is a very good answer. I like that! For some dumb reason I want a single word to work with on this.
    – Steven L
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 21:30
  • @Steven L How about saying "noisy", if you want a single word
    – ab2
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 4:00
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    Why use one word when you can use 5 just as easily?
    – user126158
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 22:50

Such long-winded communication may be described as prolix. Here is the definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Full Definition of prolix

1: unduly prolonged or drawn out : too long

2: marked by or using an excess of words

Examples of prolix in a sentence

The speech was unnecessarily prolix.

< a person known for habitually transforming brief anecdotes into prolix sagas that exhaust their listeners >

The noun form of this word is prolixity. You could say for example that you disapprove of prolixity in resumes.

  • I'm also looking for something that has a somewhat negative connotation. Where does prolix fall in line on that?
    – Steven L
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 21:27
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    @StevenL, in my estimation it would generally fall into the "huh?" category; it is not a widely-used word and the average person probably doesn't know what it means. (If someone does know what it means, they would most likely take it as a negative comment.)
    – Hellion
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 21:57
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    @StevenL It definitely has a negative connotation. (That's why the dictionary definitions always have some word like unduly, too or excess in them). Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 7:01
  • right, prolix is negative. but prolix is .. prolix. All you have to say is "your cv is far too long"
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 19:34

What you are referring to seem to be superfluous details.


If you are looking for a noun, noise comes to mind:

irrelevant or meaningless data or output occurring along with desired information

(definition 2e from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/noise)


As an alternative to long-winded you might consider bloated. Which may help to suggest that extra content was unnecessary, not simply inefficiently presented (if that is your desire).

excessive in size or amount.

  • "the company trimmed its bloated labor force"

Obfuscation refers to too many details or levels of abstraction that obscure the real meaning. Obfuscation is often done purposely. Eschew obfuscation.


tautology- saying same thing over and over again by using synonyms. Similarly, superfluity, pleonasm, verbosity also convey the same.


He uses a lot of words to show off his huge vocabulary realizing little that his tautology is irritating to others.

  • Verbiage is a great word! And it has a negative feeling, if not connotation, so you can use it without seeming overly, excessively, redundantly judgmental.
    – user126158
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 22:53

lengthy descriptions. long-drawn-out descriptions. If there are too many words, I think the word lengthy works fine. For me, prolix and verbose and long-winded would not be used here as those words are about communications not descriptions per se.

Typically, in English a short description contrasts with a lengthy or long description.


Discursive. It's an antonym for concise.

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    And it sounds a bit like 'curse'.
    – user126158
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 22:53

On alieniloquent

(not to mention alieniloquently, alieniloquence, alieniloquacious, alieniloque, alieniloquize, alieniloquy, alieniloquial, alieniloquially, alieniloquist, alieniloquism, alieniloquacious, alieniloquaciously, et alios)

Per Oxford Dictionaries Online, an alieniloquy is

an instance of straying from the subject one is supposed to be talking about; rambling of evasive talk.

Aliens are “others”, of course, so this is talking about other things if you would. It derives from

post-classical Latin alieniloquium allegory from classical Latin aliēnus + ‑loquium, after Hellenistic Greek ἀλληγορία.

Since all nouns ending in -iloquy have corresponding derived adjectives ending in ‑iloquent, the world you’re looking for is therefore necessarily alieniloquent — pronounced /ˌeɪlɪəˈnɪləkwənt/.

If that’s not quite the right part of speech, a great number of derivative terms can be similarly derived in a perfectly regular fashion. Unless of course you prefer a term a tad less...grandiloquent? :-)

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