I'm looking for a single word to describe a person who is a good wordsmith or orator, but who doesn't believe in the ideas behind their words. Any ideas?

  • 5
    i would say a liar, but most would probably say a hypocrite. i would also take an elitist in substitute for liar. – albert Aug 23 '17 at 20:08
  • 1
    Someone who doesn't "practice what they preach"? – Tot Zam Aug 23 '17 at 20:23
  • A talkie-walkie. – Hot Licks Aug 23 '17 at 20:42
  • Sounds like an academic. Probably where mostly of academic interest comes from. – mathreadler Aug 23 '17 at 20:44
  • The single-word request tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. YOU MUST INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE demonstrating how the word would be used – Arm the good guys in America Aug 23 '17 at 22:28

Hypocrite fits the bill nicely.

From the Oxford Dictionary entry for "hypocrisy":

The practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.

A hypocrite is then a hypocritical person, or, a person that claims "to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case."

That is, someone who says one thing and does another or believes another, or, "talks the talk" but doesn't "walk the walk".

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  • While related, I don't think it fits the actual definition. A paralyzed athletics coach can talk the talk but not walk the walk (I swear to you, that pun was unintentional), but he is not a hypocrite just because he coaches others. I agree that hypocrisy means you talk the talk but not walk the walk, but that doesn't mean that everyone who talks the talk but does not walk the walk is therefore a hypocrite. – Flater Aug 25 '17 at 12:44
  • Upon rereading the question, it does seem that the OP was looking for a hypocrite (based on his question body), but the title is misleading as it asks a (subtly) different question. – Flater Aug 25 '17 at 12:46

A phony (MWD)

making a false show: such as (1) : hypocritical (2) : specious

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  • +1 because username. but also because that's a good word for this – psosuna Aug 23 '17 at 22:32

In your context, I'd call them a parrot.

parrot, noun, 2. A person regarded as resembling a parrot in some way, esp. one who repeats the words or ideas of others mindlessly, mechanically, or without understanding. (OED)

1581 J. Bell tr. W. Haddon & J. Foxe Against Jerome Osorius ii. 107 Speake out Parrotte, in what place doth Luther subuerte the dueties of vertue?

1671 E. Howard Six Days Adventure i. 8 Soly: You may be Taken notice on for a Patriot of your countrey. Merid: A Parrot rather, for in my sence he talks by roat.

1809 M. Edgeworth Ennui vi, in Tales Fashionable Life I. 156 The mere puppets and parrots of fashion.

1837 R. W. Emerson Oration before Phi Beta Kappa Soc. 5 He tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men's thinking.

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