Examples would be like someone saying:

“Well, today was awful! I can’t believe that just happened to me!”


“Wow, today is great! I’m so lucky!”

...to get others to ask what happened.

What is a common term for this?

  • 2
    Hi Clint, welcome to English Language & Usage. You might not be aware that there are strict rules for single-word-requests: "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." You can add this using the edit link. For further guidance, see How to Ask, and make sure you also take the Tour :-) Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 7:04
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    It’s a bit like ‘a leading question’. Only, it’s not really, necessarily a question, so I don’t think that fits. 🙂
    – Jelila
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 8:43
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    If someone said to me "well today was awful" without saying more, I would respond with, "well don't leave me hanging, what happened?!" Hence for me a name for that would be, "To leave hanging", but it's hard to know if that would work in your context.
    – jas
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 21:24
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    Okay, I'll bite.
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 21:53
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    In some contexts it's called clickbait. Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 0:38

6 Answers 6


Answering/naming the activity (rather than labeling the person) is usually more artful use of English and more effective in making your point. Consider the terms "baiting" or "fishing".



  1. (transitive) to entice; tempt



  1. (intransitive; foll by for) to seek something indirectly

    to fish for compliments

definitions from Collins dictionary, English section


"Stop baiting people into asking you questions."

"You're fishing for questions. I like you, but you won't catch any today."

You might call it "question baiting" or "question fishing".

To answer the question fully, and I do not mean any sarcasm at all, if you must have a label for the actual person doing this, the urban dictionary would probably be best suited, partially because vernacular might be more effective there and mainly because we avoid single-word answer questions on ELU.

  • 3
    Good words and explanation. The only thing missing to make it a good answer was dictionary definitions, so I've added those.
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 9:57
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    Your edit and comment here is helping to teach me as a rookie. Thank you for all of this.
    – Jesse
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 9:58
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    'Fishing' was the first thing that occurred to me. I think that simply saying someone was fishing is ok given enough context. "Fishing for sympathy" is an expression I've heard used occassionally. "Fishing for attention" would be another possible alternative.
    – Eric Nolan
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 17:05
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    Also "fishing for compliments" is pretty common, so "fishing" was where I went first too.
    – senschen
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 19:47
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    "Baiting" was my first thought as well, though I think both would apply in this situation. They are "baiting" someone into asking a question because they are "fishing" for some kind of reaction.
    – user269635
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 11:22

When done on social media, it goes by the name vagueposting. You could generalize to vaguetalking.


  1. Give off a vague feeling of sadness or other emotional issues to prompt others into asking what's wrong and generally shower said poster with attention

Urban Dictionary

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    I've specifically heard "Vaguebooking" (Facebook) and "Vaguetweeting" (Twitter).
    – Vicky
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 11:49
  • "Vaguebooking" was what came immediately to mind for me as well. I have never heard anyone use the word vaguetalking, but have heard vaguebooking generalized to non-digital speech as well. "She is a constant vaguebooker-- everything she says is a ploy for attention!"
    – Meg
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 21:49
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    if one vaguestackexchanges, their post will be downvoted and closed for "unclear what you are asking"
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 16:05

Statements of that sort could be called teasers, defined variously as:

a ... device intended to arouse interest or curiosity especially in something to follow (M/W)


a person or thing that pokes fun or raises interest, without intending to satisfy (yourdict)


I don't think there are any perfect matches. Still, here are a few

They are 'piquing someone’s curiosity' or 'piquing their interest'

to make someone want to know more about something or someone.


Eventually her curiosity was piqued and she went to talk to the boy.


I think 'piquing their interest' might be the best recognised phrase, even better when prefaced by 'deliberately', as in 'he was deliberately piquing their interest'.

They might be 'drawing someone in'.

If you draw someone in or draw them into something you are involved with, you cause them to become involved with it.


It's not a phrase I've heard much or at all, but to 'manufacture interest' is probably as good a fit as I can think of - as good as piquing interest, since it is clearer but less common.

On a related note there's also to 'arouse interest' or 'raise interest' but I don't think those are quite right, and I could not find any good source links for them anyway.


A specific version of this is called the pronoun game. This is used when the "little information" given is an unspecific identifier such as "he", "she", "it" or generic terms like "there", "that", etc., forcing the other person to ask "who" or "what" or "where, exactly".

(note: The term has also been usurped in a genderism context, I'm not referring to that meaning)


In psychology, this can be called as priming. You can watch an explanatory video, or read more on its Wikipedia page.

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