At one time or another, you've probably inquired about something (perhaps online) and been met with the curt or critical response. It's meant to showcase their cleverness. It's more of a concealed boast than it is a help. Is there a word or phrase which calls out is the disingenuousness of the help, since it's not that at all?

This word or phrase characterizes the response and not the person or the behavior.

  • 1
    Sounds like softballing. Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 18:19
  • 1
    That could be called "showing off" …
    – ralph.m
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 23:00
  • Anybody we know? Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 3:24
  • ' gopher is in sunbathing' Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 18:28
  • OP there states 'I'm looking for a single word to most aptly describe a person' and accepted 'grandstanding', the action not the person. This question already has answers [t]here, or answers ('grandstander') so close as to be redundant if echoed. Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 18:33

4 Answers 4


This can be called grandstanding, defined by Cambridge as:

acting or speaking in a way intended to attract the good opinion of other people who are watching

  • That's pretty good. I'd like to leave the question open for a while to hear other potential terms. Thank you.
    – Mario
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 18:01

This might fit some cases:
Macmillan Dictionary showboating
"behavior that is intended to make people notice and admire you"


In the UK it's a planted question (softball question in the US, Dorothy Dixer in Australia). That means asking a question for the sole purpose of allowing the responder (often, your party leader, if you're an MP) to reply in a way that reflects well on him and/or your political party.

It's kinda the opposite of a loaded question, which is usually intended to make the responder look bad. In neither case does the person asking have any interest in learning anything from the answer.


Maybe playing to the crowd.

Definition from the Free dictionary :

To act, behave, or perform in such a way as to receive as much approval from an audience or group of spectators as one can get, especially the lowest common denominator therein.

Example from "Back to Birmingham: Richard Arrington, Jr., and His Times" by Jimmie Lewis Franklin:

While he never fit the classic definition of political demagogue, the press and opponents did accuse him of shifting positions to suit his political advantage and of playing to the crowd, habits not uncommon to some other politicians.

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