I am looking for a verb (or phrasal verbs) for describing the act of someone who seemingly speaks confidently on a topic he/she isn't actually sure of (he/she knows it inside). It is not like "bullshitting" because that person sounds like he/she actually knows stuff and is able to fool people (but in reality is just making bold claims, promises, spilling unsubstantiated facts walking in circle in retrospect). It is usually coming out of someone who is an "elite" in society, or is trained/experienced in public speaking.


3 Answers 3


To do this is to ultracrepidate ("to criticize beyond the sphere of one's knowledge" -- Chambers). But I wouldn't like speculate on how likely it is that your listeners know that word.

  • 1
    I suppose one has to upvote this for the subtly self-deprecating self-referentiality. But was this the 1843 Chambers? Dec 9, 2019 at 19:35

Dogmatizing is the closest I can think of. When someone is being dogmatic they're stating their opinions as if they're facts.


I suggest "pontificate." In the example provided the writer completes by means of adverbials the sense of speaking confidently about things the person does not master or should not speak about:

What these interviews generally come down to is an invitation to writers to pontificate upon things for which it is either unseemly for them to speak (the quality of their own work) or upon which they are unfit to judge (the state of the cosmos). — Joseph Epstein

  • I'm tempted to suggest "potificate", but I won't. Maybe "privyledge"?
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 8, 2019 at 23:21
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    One can pontificate about a subject in which one is competent. The verb refers to the manner of expressing content, it says nothing about the exactitude of what is said.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 9, 2019 at 11:47
  • @NigelJ I agree. However, the verb carries a derogatory connotation that makes it appropriate to refer to cases where people talk nonsense.
    – Gustavson
    Dec 9, 2019 at 13:24
  • I am waiting for a few more days (I added some more details), if no more better answers I will accept this as the best one.
    – y chung
    Dec 9, 2019 at 16:57

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