For example usage, on asking a question.

The lack of response was expected/annoying...

Google gave me 'Indifferent' but I believe there must be something else.

  • 4
    I don't understand why you need a single word. Why can't you use "lack of response"? It seems to suit fine in your example.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 1:45
  • @KitFox, in answer to the 'Why' I am interested in increasing my vocabulary. Also I have/had a belief such a word would exist. Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 3:27
  • @KitFox in answer to - 'lack of response' seems to suit fine in my example - would this not be the case for many of the single-word-requests on this site? However you may well be right in that those three words are the 'best' to use in my example. Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 3:29
  • It wasn't meant as a criticism; I was just wondering if there was some additional context that was missing.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 10:54

9 Answers 9


"Unresponsiveness" works if you really need it to be a single word.



The silence was deafening.


If OP doesn't like indifference, how about

apathy - lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal

  • Excellent word if the thing in question truly is unresponsive due to apathy. Obviously, it's not an ideal choice if the thing in question isn't apathetic, because you'd be misleading your audience by stating that it is, when perhaps the object is simply unresponsive because of fear or some other motivation.
    – Jagd
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 15:47
  • Perhaps "apparent apathy" if the person who is offering the point-of-view is unsure as to why the object in question is being unresponsive.
    – Jagd
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 15:48
  • @Jagd: I must be honest and say that if OP had phrased his question as "We emailed all our customers asking if they would be interested in an upgrade we're thinking about implementing, but we didn't get any replies. The xxxx was expected/annoying". What word/phrase should replace xxxx there?, I doubt I'd have upvoted anything except "lack of response". So I don't really think it's a good question anyway. Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 16:34

How about "non-response"? Would that work for what you're doing?


"Inaction", "Inattention", or "Disregard" might be fitting. The first most fitting I think but maybe a little broad.

The inaction was expected.


The stonewalling was expected/annoying...

Wikipedia says :

Stonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate. Such behaviour occurs in situations such as marriage guidance counseling, diplomatic negotiations, politics and legal cases

and Dictionary.com Unabridged. Based on the Random House Dictionary says:

noun 1. the act of stalling, evading, or filibustering, especially to avoid revealing politically embarrassing information.


Consider stodginess (“state or quality of being stodgy”, ie of being dull, old-fashioned); as in “The stodginess of their response shocked me.” Also consider complacency, as in “The complacency of their response amazed me.” Some other words to think about are insipidity, turgidity, inertia, and Luddism.

Also consider verb cold-shoulder (“To disrespect someone, especially by ignoring them”), or noun cold shoulder (“A deliberate act of disrespect; a slight or snub”), as in “They cold-shouldered the proposal most obstropulously” or “The cold shoulder was expected but annoying.” Slight, as a verb (“To treat as slight or not worthy of attention, to make light of” or “To treat with disdain or neglect”) or noun (“The act of slighting; a deliberate act of neglect or discourtesy”), may be used similarly.

  • I don't think this is quite what's being asked for. You're describing particular characteristics of an unhelpful response (stodgy, complacent, etc.), when what was asked for was a word for no response at all. Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 14:09
  • @KellyTessenaKeck, see edit Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 15:23

I suggest the slang office-speak term "crickets".

To 'get crickets' during a conference call is to have asked a question, waited for a response, and heard only silence.

Example: "when the district sales manager called a surprise meeting and asked for feedback, he got only 'crickets'..."



They stayed away in droves.

(attributed to Samuel Goldwyn)

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