Merriam Webster says that extroversion is "the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self" but Oxford Dictionary says that extroversion means "The quality of being outgoing and socially confident."

Does it also means talkative?

Also is there a difference between the two words?

  • It's basically a difference in the degree of annoyance provoked. – Hot Licks Nov 5 '17 at 13:12
  • Oxford goes on to say (definition 1.1) that extrovert has a special meaning in the field of psychology. Most people do not use or even know technical terms. So, generally speaking, the two words you ask about are synonyms. But extrovert is also a technical term, whose meaning most speakers are unaware of, have a half-baked idea of, or think they know but they don't. – Arm the good guys in America Nov 5 '17 at 16:49
  • Why was this question downvoted? – desbest Nov 6 '17 at 11:30
  • I dunno why some are so keen to downvote perfectly good questions such as this one. I think "points mean prizes" brings out a competitive streak.. – Harry Tuttle Nov 8 '17 at 10:56

I think "Outgoing" refers to the behaviour, while "Extroverted" refers to the personality trait (the opposite of "Introverted" in eg. the Myers-Briggs test)

So MW goes on to define an "extrovert" (noun) as "a gregarious and unreserved person", for which "extroverted" is the adjective.

I think in practice, you are right to say that they do get used interchangeably. A person could be outgoing or extroverted meaning their behaviour or personality is socially confident. Hope that helps!


'Extroversion' is a psychological term as you have found it defined by Merriam Webster, which has become sufficiently well-known that 'extrovert' is often used in ordinary conversation to describe a confident, outgoing person.

Obviously such a person is likely to talk freely, but that isn't what the word means. A less socially confident person might also talk a lot to hide their embarrassment.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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