Every now and again I ask a question to someone and while they provide a response, they fail to actually answer my question. A few examples are as follows:

Q: What does HR do?

A: HR stuff.

Q: What's the biggest herbivore?

A: It's the herbivore that's bigger than all of the other herbivores.

Q: What does 'broil' do on the oven?

A: It broils the food.


In each of these cases, it's clear that the person has heard at least part of the question, and replied with some level understanding, however they have failed to actually add any new information to the conversation.

I've been calling these a 'non-answers', but I am wondering if there is a word or phrase or expression which describes these answers. Specifically I would like to be able to respond to one of these answers with something along the lines of:

Excuse me, but that was a [insert-word/phrase/expression-here]; can you please clarify?

Edit: This question was flagged as a duplicate (see comments). I'm not sure if it necessarily is or not (although if the community thinks this is a duplicate, I would accept that). Additionally, my question is looking for the word that describes the quality of the answer, the linked question is referring to the behaviour of the person answering. For example, in the linked question, the user has a question:

Q: Why is the sky blue?

A: Because God made it that way.

In this case, God making the sky could be the most fundamental answer that the answer-er is capable of giving, and is therefore a full and complete (if potentially unsatisfying) answer. My question is more along the lines of how to deal with:

Q: Why is the sky blue?

A: It's blue because it's colour is blue.


1 Answer 1


Excuse me, but that (answer) was just plain bunkum. Can you please clarify?

bunkum TFD


An idiomatic usage of bunkum: (same link)

A lot/load of bunkum

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