I'm looking for a word or phrase that describes someone answering a question by intentionally stating the obvious or taking the question too literally, thereby insulting the person who asked the question (by implying that they asked a stupid question).

For example:

Questioner (holding package): "Who is this package for?"

Respondent: "Whoever it's addressed to"


2 Answers 2


I would use facetious to describe the person answering.

The definition given by Merriam-Webster is joking or jesting, but in use facetious often has the undertone that the comment was inappropriate.

The words flippant or glib also work.

  • Facetious is good.
    – Mick
    Jan 9, 2018 at 1:41
  • I like flippant, as I think it better describes the "mean" or "cruel" intent I'm trying to describe. Jan 9, 2018 at 1:52
  • 1
    @WordLover1337 You've got them the wrong way round, a facetious remark is more often meant to hurt or belittle someone, a flippant remark merely indicates a lack of seriousness with respect to the subject.
    – BoldBen
    Jan 9, 2018 at 3:07

The most straightforward term for it would be evasion:

evasion noun [ C or U ]

the act of avoiding something or someone:

  • Her speech was full of excuses and evasions and never properly addressed the issue.

Cambridge Dictionary

However, a psychological term would be passive aggression:

passive-aggressive adjective

Of or denoting a type of behaviour or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation.

Oxford Dictionary

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