I have a friend who is forever asking questions but always seems to give out vague information about the question until he's pressed for it. I would like to know if there is a title that you can give to him for being this way?

For instance he asked me, "205 or 418?" Who knows what this could mean and after pressing for more information I found he was going to purchase something online.

  • Welcome to ELU. If you are looking for a word you should generally provide an example sentence where you want to use it. You can have a look at the Help Center to find out about good questions.
    – Helmar
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 14:54
  • The question itself could be called a non-sequitur - merriam-webster.com/dictionary/non%20sequitur As far as characteristics go, you could describe your friend as vague Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:04
  • If your friend does it all the time, I'd call him "a bore".
    – Centaurus
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 16:56
  • if you're looking for something slightly pompous, calqued on religious linguo, you could say "he talk to me in mysterious ways"
    – P. O.
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 11:58
  • You mean like this question?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 12:00

3 Answers 3



mysterious in meaning; puzzling; ambiguous:

a cryptic message.

abrupt; terse; short:

a cryptic note.



This "door" can swing both ways.

My incomplete or short answers to questions have exposed me to being accused of being cryptic.

My response to those who challenge me to figure out what was said is that I'm not clairvoyant.



Giving the sense that the asker's words are 'not transparent' or cannot be 'seen through' - and are thus 'difficult to interpret'.

Opaque means that 'the light doesn't shine through it' and so an 'opaque question' does not 'illuminate' understanding in our minds, leaving us 'in the dark', or having difficulty understanding the meaning.


  • this question is opaque - I can't understand your meaning at all!
  • Can you give a less-opaque example, please?
  • this lampshade is opaque - the light hardly shines through it
  • Thomas is opaque - I never understand what on earth he is saying


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.