I'm currently looking at revamping a list of options. One of the possible choices is called 'Noisy' meaning that this offers nothing of value to anyone reading the problem. However, I'm not sure 'Noisy' is the right term for what I'm looking for. Other possibilities that don't seem to fit are noisy, not needed, unnecessary.

Is there a word or a phrase that means 'something is uneeded or offers no value' when looking at a topic? An example would be:

This should be deleted or removed because it is _______.

  • Are you trying to say it has nothing to do with the subject at hand or that it adds no value to the post?
    – Hank
    Dec 14, 2016 at 21:24
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    I can only think of words that are one or the other. Inconsequential, trivial, useless are all not important or no value but none really encapsulate irrelevant
    – Hank
    Dec 14, 2016 at 21:31
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    @Hank Yeah, I'm not sure if I can capture both, but I'm going to try.
    – Taryn
    Dec 14, 2016 at 21:34
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    I understand where noisy came from - you have the signal that conveys the information, and the noise that interferes with conveying the information. Irrelevant is close, and may be better for a discussion based context, but doesn't cover cases such as misinformation, which is noise but not irrelevant. Dec 14, 2016 at 22:36
  • 1
    @200_success That's possibly very true, my reasoning for asking for a different word or phrase is because I'm not sure how many non-English speakers would be familiar with 'noise' being used that way. I'm just looking for other ways to say the thing.
    – Taryn
    Dec 15, 2016 at 18:41

15 Answers 15


It's irrelevant:

Not connected with or relevant to something:
‘an irrelevant comment’

Oxford Dictionaries

What's nice about this word is it's simple. And it's also the word many people already use to describe this type of comment:

  • 1
    Nice research on the many ways we already discuss comments.
    – Taryn
    Dec 15, 2016 at 1:55

I like to use superfluous:

1b: not needed : unnecessary
from m-w.com

It can have a connotation of 'pointlessly excessive.' If you have 3 elements when 1 is sufficient, and the other elements add no value, then the additional elements would be superfluous.

  • This fits as well as irrelevant. Maybe there is a way I can work with both.
    – Taryn
    Dec 15, 2016 at 1:54
  • 12
    This comment is superfluous, but not irrelevant.
    – Wildcard
    Dec 15, 2016 at 1:58
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    In the specific of multiple elements where only one is needed, you would call the superfluous elements redundant.
    – sq33G
    Dec 15, 2016 at 18:15
  • Joke comments are superfluous, but are often well received, and not automatically worthy of deletion. Dec 15, 2016 at 18:41

How about extraneous?


extraneous: not forming an essential or vital part; having no relevance

Your example:

This should be deleted or removed because it is extraneous.

If it doesn't form an essential or vital part, it can be deleted or removed. Similarly, if it has no relevance, it can be deleted or removed. In both cases, it's noise.

  • 1
    I agree this is much better than "superfluous." Many excellent comments are borderline irrelevant, but would never be described as "extraneous." +1
    – Wildcard
    Dec 15, 2016 at 1:59
  • This fits as well depending on the context.
    – Taryn
    Dec 15, 2016 at 2:35

In addition to irrelevant, posted above in the comments, I would offer "inapplicable". Most forms have an n/a or "not applicable" option for survey choices, such as this multiple choice form: https://www.surveyconsole.com/images/help/help-120-1.gif or this numerical example: http://images.slideplayer.com/26/8438090/slides/slide_9.jpg



To describe, estimate or regard something as unimportant, having no value or being worthless (hybridized definition from the two wiktionary links above)

  • 2
    That word is so long that it has been floccinaucinihilipilificated.
    – mbomb007
    Dec 15, 2016 at 14:51
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    Wow, haven't seen that word since I had too much time to read while I was laid up in the hospital with pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
    – BradC
    Dec 15, 2016 at 15:44

Worthless, valueless, unsubstantial and unsubstantiated all come to mind.

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    I don't think unsubstantiated fits like the others. It means that it's not proven or backed up. That says nothing about the relevance or value of the item.
    – Hank
    Dec 14, 2016 at 21:32
  • @Hank Valueless is um, a value statement. Unsubstantiated provides a basis for that judgement by saying that value was not supported by the argument or comment provided. A perhaps more circumspect way to say valueless. :-) Shades of meaning. Dec 14, 2016 at 21:38
  • I will agree that it can be tweaked to work but I don't think it provides the same effectiveness as the others that you posted. Too much of a stretch just to describe 50% of the OP's desire.
    – Hank
    Dec 14, 2016 at 21:40
  • I concede your point. But I might choose unsubstantiated anyway to prepare the battle space for an argument to follow. Also, the second meaning of unsubstantiated is "being without form or substance" which does directly apply. That is, the <text under discussion> has no substance. Dec 14, 2016 at 21:45

I like non sequitur, especially if it is out of context. But to complete your sentence I would normally select irrelevant which I have +1'd.

  • The etymology of "context" is "weave together."
    – Wildcard
    Dec 15, 2016 at 2:00

This should be deleted or removed because it is "for naught". For naught means:

without achievement or result

Etymology: based on the literal meaning of naught (zero or nothing)

[Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]

  • Your answer was flagged automatically as low quality for its length. Please follow the format next time you answer a question here. Good luck.
    – user140086
    Dec 15, 2016 at 7:58

Either the comment helps (adds value) or it doesn't in which case it is not helpful or, it is unhelpful.


unhelpful ADJECTIVE

Not helpful.

‘Don't you hate it when people give you ‘helpful feedback’ of an unhelpful nature?’
‘Removing the unhelpful heat from the debate, which can all too easily become polarised, is a necessary first step.’


In rhetoric, a tautology (from Greek ταὐτός, "the same" and λόγος, "word/idea") is a logical argument constructed in such a way, generally by repeating the same concept or assertion using different phrasing or terminology, that the proposition as stated is logically irrefutable, while obscuring the lack of evidence or valid reasoning supporting the stated conclusion.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology_(rhetoric)

  • Please add a reference for your answer, as ELU prefers objective answers.
    – Helmar
    Dec 15, 2016 at 7:10


Thought of this last night while trying to sleep, came back to share because it makes me grin when I think about you putting it on your official form.

Then this morning I came up with these -- which are in the same vein: for laughs -- ordered by descending likelihood that a user would need to look them up. (I like to imagine each word in the context you've provided, and you and yours staring at the option in the dropdown list, contemplating awarding it as the permanent mark which effectively stamps 'rejected' on someone else's work. lulz.)

inutile, feckless, ineffectual, insufferable, expendable, dispensable, feeble, inoperable, counterproductive, unproductive, fruitless, distressing, useless, painful, weak, stupid



Not pertinent to a particular matter; irrelevant:

From Oxford dictionaries


This should be deleted or removed because it has been obviated.

transitive verb
: to anticipate and prevent (as a situation) or make unnecessary (as an action)

Example of obviate in a sentence:
The new medical treatment obviates the need for surgery.

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obviate


If it is something that should be removed both because it is not useful and there is already enough stuff, a nice word might be "superfluous"

Superfluous: (adj)

1 a :  exceeding what is sufficient or necessary :  extra

*b* :  not needed :  unnecessary

2 obsolete :  marked by wastefulness :  extravagant

  • 1
    How is this different from Hellion’s answer from 2 hours before yours?
    – Jim
    Dec 15, 2016 at 2:00

I'm flagging this comment because it:


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