It's someone who may appear quiet and reserved, or even arrogant but actually just doesn't know what to say or what to talk about. They're not necessarily shy and not dumb.

I tried words such as 'reticent' and 'taciturn' , but those are more like "not wanting to talk" than "can't think of what to talk about". 'Inarticulate' is not it either, it sounds like something is physically wrong with them. 'Ineloquent' is more of not being clever with words, not able to persuade others with words, which is not what I'm looking for.

I don't know if there's even a word for this. Anyway, I just want a way to describe this trait using as few words as possible.

  • BTW, is the person “quite reserved” or “quiet and reserved”? Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 0:24
  • Please clarify why shy does not work for this.
    – k1eran
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 0:29
  • Maybe the person is an introvert.
    – Dog Lover
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 1:53
  • 5
    I'm sorry to say you've missed the point of Inarticulate which might sound like something physically wrong to you, but doesn't to most dictionaries. google.co.uk/… Inarticulacy caused by something physically wrong is normally termed a speech impediment or an injury. Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 19:23
  • After checking synonyms and antonyms, "quiet and unsure"--3 words--might describe this individual perfectly.
    – Steve
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 17:18

5 Answers 5


I would suggest tongue-tied, but would certainly agree with Janimals that a thesaurus would be the best resource.


Some words that come to mind for your description are:

Unsociable, Silent, Withdrawn, Standoffish, Reclusive, Uncommunicative, Backward, and Introverted.

Also, you might consult a thesaurus and enter some of these and other words, one at a time, until you find a word that suits your preference.

Also, there is a website that suggests antonyms – or word opposites: www.AntonymsWords.com .

Sometimes, if looking for a similar word is not working, you might try looking for your perfect word by searching for words that mean the opposite.

Since you’re looking for a single word to describe someone who is not talkative, you might try looking for the opposite of “talkative” at www.AntonymsWords.com .


Perhaps "timid" or "reluctant"? Melancholic? Tactless, self-absorbed, self-consumed, or maybe oblivious would work? Socially-inept?

  • 2
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    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 23:07

Tarzan is a word that swings to mind. As in "Me Tarzan, you Jane!" by Gary Larson.

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Such a word would be Laconic. One who uses few words or as few as possible. My favorite was Chauncey Gardner who was so described in Being There.

laconic lə-kŏn′ĭk adjective

Using or marked by the use of few words; terse or concise.Expressing much in few words, after the manner of the Laconians or Spartans; brief and pithy; concise; brusque; epigrammatic. In this sense laconic is the usual form.


Conciseness of language; laconicism.

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