I know many politicians that avoid interview questions by talking a lot but not really communicating anything.

You could say that what they were saying was full of banalities or canned answers or that they were waffling, but is there a better word for this behaviour?

I'd like to say some thing like That response was a _____ or he\she is ___ing?

  • 3
    What is the issue with "waffling"?
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 21:59
  • @Hank Mostly, it sounds a little informal but partly because there's a great deal of skill in talking for a long time without anyone noticing until afterwards that you actually haven't said anything at all.
    – BanksySan
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:01
  • What about "evasive"?
    – Laurel
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:11
  • Related question (some answers that may be helpful): english.stackexchange.com/questions/49795/… Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 23:12
  • @KristinaLopez Related, aye. They're both evasive. I was looking for something more subtle.
    – BanksySan
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 23:21

5 Answers 5


You can use bloviate and its various forms:

a style of empty, pompous political speech particularly associated with Ohio due to the term's popularization by United States President Warren G. Harding, who, himself a master of the technique, described it as "the art of speaking for as long as the occasion warrants, and saying nothing". The verb "to bloviate" is the act of creating bloviation.
from wikipedia

to speak or write verbosely and windily
from m-w.com

Thus, "that response was a bloviation" or "he/she is bloviating."

  • 1
    I like that, the word itself even sounds pompous and vacuous.
    – BanksySan
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:25
  • Bloviating seems to be a word that is becoming more well known. I'm seeing it used frequently in comments sections. While it is certainly an insult in ways, I think it is a more direct criticism of "emptiness" of the speech, without accusing someone of essentially lying(as equivocate does), or being afraid to take a stand(as waffling does)
    – Tom22
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:40

The google dictionary defines windbag as :

a person who talks at length but says little of value.

One can say "he/she is a windbag", though it is not clear that "he/she is windbagging" is proper usage.


The word vacuous just occurred to me. (MW)

emptied of or lacking content

marked by lack of ideas or intelligence


I think you're just looking for "dodging/avoiding the issue", or "beating around the bush".

As in "He or she is dodging the issue".

Slightly more than one word, hope it helps.

P.S. Maybe 'stonewalling'?

Delay or obstruct (a request, process, or person) by refusing to answer questions or by being evasive. "she has also stonewalled queries about her love life"


I do not see a problem with waffling, but equivocate could work as a synonym.



  • to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge.


  • 1
    This does not address the 'talks a lot' aspect (without which OP becomes a multi-duplicate). Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:37
  • It also has a very heavy flavor of "lying" as it has come to be used. websters-merriams goes a step beyond the definition above: "to use equivocal language especially with intent to deceive" That is a pretty stiff accusation if understood that way.
    – Tom22
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:48

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