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 fewer words as possible.


  • @Xanne is correct. – user175542 Aug 6 '17 at 21:40
  • BTW, is the person “quite reserved” or “quiet and reserved”? – Scott Aug 7 '17 at 0:24
  • Please clarify why shy does not work for this. – k1eran Aug 7 '17 at 0:29
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    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. – Robbie Goodwin Aug 21 '17 at 19:23
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    @David: There is a reasonable argument to be made for adding a semi-answer as a comment, if the poster feels that the answer in its current state does not meet the quality standards of the site (or the poster, for that matter). Just because the poster is incapable of fleshing out the answer (or simply currently unable to), does not mean that their comment is not a relevant addition to the topic. E.g. a counterexample is not an answer in and of itself, though it can be supporting evidence for a well formed answer. – Flater Sep 6 '17 at 11:49

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Unsociable, Silent, Withdrawn, Standoffish, Reclusive, Uncommunicative, Backward, and Introverted.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

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