A few months ago, I read a review of some political writer's book on either the Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New York Times or somewhere like that, that described the author's attempt to seem profound but failing in one word. I hadn't seen the word before or if I had it didn't occur to me. I searched for its meaning and if I recall correctly it was akin to "deepity" in that the author was trying to be profound but wasn't. It didn't relate to one sentence or statement like a deepity does, though. It was more about the content of the book itself and especially its ending. Another way I remember it is that, the author was deliberately trying to frame the ending in a profound or philosophically-reflective manner and failed to execute it, basically falling flat.

I've deleted my browser history since then. It was an adjective. I remember seeing it and thinking they meant a different word because I had to look it up. I want to say it started with a "b" or a "p" but I could be wrong.

  • 1
    "deepity" = "depth" = "deepness" ??
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 20:37
  • 2
    "A deepity is a proposition that seems to be profound because it is actually logically ill-formed. It has (at least) two readings and balances precariously between them. On one reading it is true but trivial. And on another reading it is false, but would be earth-shattering if true" patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2011/11/word-of-the-day-deepity
    – David D
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 20:50
  • If you could find the source (your browser history may help), it would be very helpful. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 20:55
  • 1
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 22:34
  • There’s profundity, possibly used as “attempt at profundity”
    – Xanne
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 23:06

4 Answers 4


grandiloquent (from dictionary.cambridge.org, 2019):

A grandiloquent style or way of using language is complicated in order to attract admiration and attention, especially in order to make someone or something seem important

The term grandiloquent specifically refers to the usage of bombastic language as opposed to ostentatious behavior which is more of a general lifestyle of showiness (e.g. throwing around money).

For example:

The author used grandiloquent language to gain a sense of authority but it showed he had no deep understanding of the societal issues that are on the agenda of politicians.


I think you need ‘profundity’ which comes from ‘profound’ and can hopefully serve the purpose (porpoise?) of the ‘deepity’ you seek.

I love the idea of ‘deepity’!

As a commenter, Xanne, mentioned, you could say ‘attempted profundity’.

You could also say ‘failed profundity’. Or if you want to be sarcastic ‘shallow profundity’ (an oxymoron, obviously, which makes it funny).

It does indeed start with a ‘p’ and you mentioned ‘profound’ in your answer - you just need the noun.


I also plumbed ‘profoundnesses’ in the link above, it made me think you could say:

‘His profoundnesses lacked depth’ which is also quite funny (though, sarcastic).

  • The OP is not looking for a word that means "deepity" for their own personal use, they read an adjective word, in the past, and now they cannot remember it.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 9:19

Specious. An argument that seems to be right or true, but is misleading or false.



The word that I would expect to see in your list of possible sources is "sophomoric".

Merriam-Webster defines that as:

1 : conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature

Describing a non-fiction book as "sophomoric" implies that the author is trying to sound smart, but doesn't.

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