Specific example:

Randolph: Let me guess, you've managed to convince yourself you're still in the right?

Heather: Of course, I always am.

Randolph: Using humour to deflect.

Heather: No, I was being serious.

Randolph: And she thinks people don't like her because she's unattractive. I love this girl.

There are only two people in this conversation and no one nearby to hear.

  • Not-so-subtle passive-aggressiveness? – Othya Aug 12 '16 at 14:22
  • Are you sure the final quote isn't non-spoken? I can't find the original. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 12 '16 at 14:22
  • It is from a seemingly self-published book (the kind without cover art) at the library, so I doubt it would be online. But it is spoken aloud, as Heather responds ironically, "Who? I don't see any unattractive girls here." – Renée Velocity Aug 12 '16 at 14:31
  • You said it: referring to an interlocutor in the third person. – Lambie Aug 12 '16 at 14:37

I believe this would be called an aside:


  1. A piece of dialogue intended for the audience and supposedly not heard by the other actors on stage.
  2. A remark made in an undertone so as to be inaudible to others nearby.
  3. A parenthetical departure; a digression.

Your example doesn't quite fit any of the definitions as there's no audience, and it's spoken so the other person can hear. Perhaps you could call it "an aside to an imagined audience".

  • How do you know it wasn't intended to be heard by the other actors? It could be a form of sarcasm. – Othya Aug 12 '16 at 14:31
  • ..and judging by OP's latest comment, that confirms my suspicion.. they're basically flirting with each other – Othya Aug 12 '16 at 14:32
  • @Othya I said "it's spoken so the other person can hear". – Max Williams Aug 12 '16 at 14:36

This word does not mean specifically what you are asking about, but it would be one example of an affectation, defined by Merriam-Webster as:

an unnatural form of behavior that is meant to impress others

1 a : the act of taking on or displaying an attitude or mode of behavior not natural to oneself or not genuinely felt

b : speech or conduct not natural to oneself : artificiality

Your scene seems to fall somewhere between the two sub-defintions, in that Randolph is speaking of Heather, momentarily pretending he is speaking to someone else, as though she isn't there. This behavior is not necessarily "[un]natural to [him]self" but is unnatural to the norm for the situation. In this case, it is "meant to impress" or at least to make her laugh.

I might borrow a bit from Max William's answer and write this as "Randolph took on the affectation of speaking to Heather in an imaginary aside, so as to continue the flirtatious nature of their conversation."

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