There's a word I thought I knew at some point, but can no longer remember what it was.

I tried looking up various thesaurus websites to no avail.

Similar words to what I'm looking for, but not quite:

  • Elaborate: too neutral -- I'm looking for a more negative connotation.
  • Elucidate: too positive a connotation.
  • Ruminate: The direction is correct, but it is about "thinking about something in too much detail" vs actually describing it so.
  • Describe ad nauseam: 3 words, and awkward sounding.

Example sentence: "He began to ________ the topic"

To clarify, I'm looking for a verb.

  • 2
    I would use TMI... Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 9:39
  • 2
    Please could you provide an example of a sentence where you're thinking of using the desired word?
    – user3490
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 13:19
  • 1
    Member - of english stack. Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 19:17
  • possible duplicate of Opposite of "straight talk"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 7:15

10 Answers 10


It could be expatiate:

from the OED:

To speak or write at some length; to enlarge; to be copious in description or discussion.

from Merriam-Webster:

to speak or write at length or in detail

  • This one looks good. Let me think about it some more though... Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 23:21
  • This is good except for one thing: I feel it's a bit too netural, kind of like "elaborate". Is there something with a slight negative connotation? Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 23:25
  • @AlexBudovski I took a look over at wordnik and it seems like there can be a slight negative connotation to the word. Here is the first example sentence: "He expatiated on the subject until everyone was bored." There is also an old book called "English Synonyms and Antonyms" that mentions the derogatory connotation of expatiate. Other words with a negative connotation stress the aspect of long-windedness rather than excessive detail, so I'm not sure if there is a better fit.
    – Cameron
    Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 0:05
  • Thanks. I'll mark this as answer unless someone posts a better suggestion. Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 1:05

"Verbose" can be used for for that purpose, meaning overly wordiness, in general.

From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Main Entry: ver·bose

Pronunciation: (ˌ)vər-ˈbōs\ Function: adjective Etymology: Latin verbosus, from verbum Date: 1672 1 : containing more words than necessary : wordy ; also : impaired by wordiness 2 : given to wordiness synonyms see wordy — ver·bose·ly adverb — ver·bose·ness noun — ver·bos·i·ty -ˈbä-sə-tē\ noun

  • 1
    I know verbose, but that is a noun. You can't say "He began to verbose the topic". Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 23:23
  • 2
    @AlexBudovski, When I answered this morning, you hadn't specified a verb - so if we want to use this word we'll have to switch things up a bit . . . "he covered the topic with verbosity" or "his verbose coverage of the topic was to the extreme" or "he spoke on the topic with extreme verboseness". That's what I can do after the fact. :-) Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 23:46

EDIT 24 April 2016

He began to belabor (US) / belabour the topic

2. Argue or discuss (a subject) in excessive detail:
- there is no need to belabour the point
- This is especially the case when those words simply amount to belabouring the obvious.

Explicate verb,

To explain meticulously or in great detail; to elucidate; to analyze.

-The real difference is that Auerbach is attempting to explicate the text in front of him, to help the reader "see" more fully what is really going on in the scene from the Odyssey.

He began to explicate on the topic

  • The above answer was suggested several hours ago by a newcomer called James in an edit that had to be rejected. Because it was the answer, I decided to make my contribution into a community wiki post, I gain no rep from upvotes.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 15:45

You could say that they were waxing prolix, which sounds a lot nicer than that they were prattling on, but serves the same purpose.


The examples in the question, and in one of the previous answers, are verbs; in this answer, I'll mention a few adjectival forms to consider. If a passage of text is hard to read because of being too detailed, (that is, more detailed than is necessary for some purpose), it might be termed overelaborate, euphuistic, florid, labored, embellished, convoluted. Euphuistic style sometimes is called Gongorism. Baroque has some senses that may apply.



long-winded language


excessive talking

"The guilty party": longiloquist, pleniloquist.

  • 1
    sialoquent: spitting greatly while speaking ^__^
    – Talia Ford
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 19:11

I think pedantic may be a good choice.

According to dictionary.com it can mean: overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching.

So you could say: Our teacher is pedantic or is being pedantic.


Technically, such speakers are violating Grice's Second Quantity Maxim.

Since these are the rules for cooperatine communication, they are uncooperative,
though of course they may not see it in quite that way.


Logorrhea : excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness Merriam


If someone provides more information than is strictly necessary, perhaps they are overspecifying?

Also, given that you've said this relates to thinking in too much detail about something, how about overthinking?

I would usually avoid neologisms / Americanisms / corporate gibberish, but in this case I think these are probably reasonable options.

  • Your really should not thrown English as spoken in North America into the same bin as corporate gibberish. It is at best insensitive.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 22:55
  • I did not equate the two - I merely expressed my preferences. Any comment on whether this actually answers the question?
    – user3490
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 22:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.