Preferably without implying that they are arrogant.

Example sentences:

Joe is friendly, but he's ___, so the things he has to say aren't very interesting.

Maybe it's just me being ___, but I feel like you are making the situation more thorny than it needs to be.

I've considered words like practical, simple, and tried searching through thesauruses based on these, as well as with other words like uneducated or goofy (the latter of which probably communicates too much eccentricity and silliness to be relevant, though it gets at the extraversion in a way that some of the other terms don't). However, practical brings to mind someone that is more conscientious than average, and I would prefer a word that has minimal implications on that. Simple focuses too much on the uneducated/unintelligent part. I've also considered loudmouth, but to me it implies arrogance or unpleasantness more than it implies being uneducated.

Ideally the connotation would be neutral or even positive, as a descriptor that is as inoffensive as possible. Register doesn't matter much, but ideally it should be an adjective (though a noun is OK if no adjective can be found). It's okay for it to be a compound word, but multiple words or a phrase wouldn't work, as I need it for something where the rule is that people need to be described using single words.

The best word is would be one that contains the two meanings I described, but as little else as possible (i.e. without connotations related to other personality traits), so that it is as general as possible.

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    Would shallow work? Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 9:14
  • 1
    I'm not sure whether shallow works. It seems to miss most of the extraversion aspect.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 9:41
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    Intro-/extroversion is completely orthogonal to education, intelligence and creativity – and the latter three are fairly orthogonal to one another as well. I very much doubt you’ll find a word that happens to convey your particular combination. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 14:02
  • Extraversion is completely orthogonal to agreeableness, but we have words like "friendly" that describe their intersection. I do admit that education, intelligence, and creativity are somewhat different traits, but for example I've seen education and intelligence be correlated at 0.5 to 0.8. This is comparable to that between assertiveness and cheerfulness, which are both facets of extraversion. However, I do understand that what I'm asking for is broad and that I can't expect to get a word that covers all examples; I just want a word in this general area of semantics.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 14:21
  • 1
    @JasonBassford and tailcalled - extroversion most certainly doesn't include friendliness, I have no idea where you got that. Unless by "friendly" you mean those insufferable people who won't shut up.
    – Davor
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 11:27

8 Answers 8



From Wiktionary (2019):

Lacking subtlety or sophistication

For example:

Joe is friendly, but he's simple-minded, so the things he has to say aren't very interesting.

Logically, unsophisticated might be an alternative as well:

Maybe it's just me being unsophisticated, but I feel like you are making the situation more thorny than it needs to be.

I feel like that being simple-minded is more of a innate characteristic while being unsophisticated comes more from a lack of experience.

Hence, I believe that calling yourself simple-minded is more factual than judgemental. Whereas saying someone is unsophisticated could mean that may not have put enough effort in studying. Both can be in insult depending on the situation.

Furthermore, I think of simple-minded being more of an extroverted characteristic in comparison to being unsophisticated.

  • 1
    I think simple-minded is probably the best suggestion so far (it lies very close to the word "simple", one that I also considered using), but I feel like it doesn't have enough of an extraverted element. It seems to me that it is mostly about the uneducated/unintelligent/uncreative part, with a small "hint" of extraversion. I'll probably approve your answer unless someone else figures out a better option.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 14:27
  • There is the problem that there is the alternative definition 'Lacking mental capacity; feeble-minded'. [AHD] has: << simple-minded or simpleminded adj: 1. Lacking in subtlety or sophistication; artless or naive: a simple-minded horror movie; simple-minded generalizations // 2. Stupid or silly; foolish. // 3. Offensive Intellectually disabled. >> The third definition is the one I'm most familiar with, and is always a possible reading. Great care is necessary with this one. Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 11:49

You may be looking for shallow:

(2) not exhibiting, requiring, or capable of serious thought.

Synonyms include:

superficial, facile, glib, simplistic, oversimplified, insubstantial, empty, trivial, trifling; frivolous, foolish, silly, unintelligent, unthinking, unscholarly, ignorant

Superficial may also work,

(3) lacking depth of character or understanding.

Or facile:

(1) ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial.

  • (of a person) having a superficial or simplistic knowledge or approach.

All definitions from Lexico

  • This is good for describing the uneducated/unintelligent/uncreative aspect, but I need a word that includes both this and extraversion/activity.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 9:42
  • 1
    What you could do is add the extraversion aspect with the friendly: Joe is outgoing, but he's shallow, so the things he has to say aren't very interesting. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 9:58
  • Friendly has an aspect of extraversion already, but I need a single word that includes both the extraverted and the uneducated aspects.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 9:59
  • The 2001 movie Shallow Hal was about a a man who lacked the ability to see another's true worth.
    – rajah9
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 11:08

"Impetuous", "boisterous" and "unruly" come close, but don't quite fit the second example. "Obstreperous" is great for the second, but not good for the first.

If you're writing entirely for a technical audience who are familiar with Freud's definitions of the id, ego, and superego, there are some fine words, but in more everyday use words like "idiotic" and "egotistical" carry much too much baggage.

"Stupid" actually works well in both examples, but technically it means the opposite to extroverted and energetic.

  • I think impetuous, boisterous, unruly, and obstreperous are more about being unstable or careless than about being unintelligent and uncreative, which isn't what I'm going for. For instance, someone who is very traditional-minded but extraverted, like a religious pillar of the community, should preferably also be included under the word. (A "Ned Flanders", if you will, except I think he's canonically more educated than would be expected for this type of traditional, conventional person.)
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 11:52
  • @tailcalled - I'd say obstreperous was about caring too much, but fair enough - I'm probably just being... ah... you know.. Any reason it has to be one word to fit both examples and the title? Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 12:01
  • It's possible I don't know the word "obstreperous" well enough, I just went by a dictionary definition ("noisy and difficult to control") since I didn't recognize it. It's not as important that it fits the example sentences as it is that it fits the title, I'm not going to use it in a sentence but instead in a thing for describing people using single words. However, I included the example sentences because there appeared to be a strict rule about having them for single-word-requests.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 13:38

A single word conveying both extroversion and dimwittedness is a lot to ask for, and then on top wanting it not to be pejorative makes it even harder, but here are some possibilities (some are nouns and some are adjectives). "Dope" and "goofball" are informal and can imply a certain likability. "Dense" and "obtuse" are good fits for your second example, and not so bad for your first. But they don't really carry the idea of being energetic, and they're kind of pejorative.


As in:

Joe is friendly, but trifling, so the things he has to say aren't very interesting.

trifling TFD adj

1. Of little worth or importance.

From Soul Tap

Trifling people are inane, empty, hollow and frivolous.

  • 1
    I'm not sure this is the meaning that would usually be taken for personalities, rather than e.g. objects; the personality meaning seems to more be "frivolous or foolish", if I understand correctly. But regardless, this word also seems to be missing the extraversion aspect, and at least to me brings to mind people who are unconscientious.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 10:02

It's not a single word, but blathering fool might work.


talk in a long-winded way without making very much sense.


Unfortunately, unintelligently extroverted is pretty much the definition of arrogant, or at least one of its major contributing factors, so excising that idea from the entire concept is rather tricky. And neither of the sample sentences really seem to have blanks that even offer a space for the concept you describe (the second example sentence specifically is a hard one to shoehorn a word that describes your described concept). However, the following may help:

To recap: extroverted and/or energetic, but uneducated, unintelligent and/or uncreative without implying arrogance:

If one word must suffice: Vainglorious (fits first sentence, not so much the second). Attention-seeking in the best tradition of form over function. Doesn't explicitly imply arrogance, but it doesn't rule it out and I would probably assume that someone who is vainglorious is also arrogant.

If you can go for two words then: Brashly ignorant, wantonly ignorant, premeditatedly ignorant, all depending on the flavour you are looking for

If you want to emphasize "going where angels fear to tread" then cocksure and family may work, or also in conjunction with ignorant: cocksuredly ignorant ("cocksuredly" may not be a real word, but it's not one I'd run away from since no one would doubt the intention)

  • In order to be arrogant, one also needs to be unkind.
    – tailcalled
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 8:50

Many other words come to mind, by definition they may not fit the use. Obsequious perhaps, if you want a more scholarly term.

obsequious: "obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree"

Demure and pedantic don't exactly convey a lack of intelligence but the implication might be inferred.

Synonyms: servile, ingratiating, unctuous, sycophantic, fawning, toadying, oily, oleaginous, greasy, grovelling, cringing, toadyish, sycophantish, subservient, submissive, slavish, abject

Add: unctuous

sycophantic, ingratiating, obsequious, fawning, servile, self-abasing, grovelling, subservient, wheedling, cajoling, crawling, cringing, Uriah Heepish, humble, toadying, hypocritical, insincere, flattering, adulatory, honey-tongued, silver-tongued, gushing, effusive, suave, urbane, glib, smooth, smooth-tongued, smooth-spoken, smooth-talking, slick, slippery, saccharine

What about negation with a negative - "John would be the perfect sycophant if it weren't for his wheedling."

This word selection business is complicated.

  • 1
    Are you sure this answers the question at all?
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 6:52

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