Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Stultiloquy



Let's go archaic this week and bring back a word that may actually be relevant to today's world: Stultiloquy

What, you are probably asking, does stultiloquy mean? Well, I could go on and on and on at great and tedious length...

Which is, more or less, the point.
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Webster's 1913 dictionary defines the noun stultiloquy as foolish talk; silly discourse; babbling. 

But O! Let us not stop here, for there's much more to learn about this wonderful word.

Dr. Goodword from Alphadictionary.com has an entry on stultiloquy that is full of explanations and examples (and even a little "Hear it!" button so you can hear how it is pronounced). He notes that the word is based on an obsolete adjective stulty, which means "foolish, stupid." Stulty is also the basis for the word stultify, which is defined as "to make stupid, render useless." Marching right alongside stultiloquy is the equally polysyllabic adjective stultiloquent and an alternative noun, stultiloquence.

World Wide Words notes that stultiloquy is from the Latin stultiloquus, speaking foolishly, which come in turn from stultus, foolish, plus loquus, that speaks.

Both Alphadictionary.com and World Wide Words make snarky comments about how this is the perfect word to apply to certain, unnamed political figures.

It does seem a pity it has fallen out of use. In a quest to discover when it was popular, I turned to Google's Ngram. Here are the results:



Stultiloquy appears to have peaked sometime around 1820, and was not very popular even then. I think this would be a most excellent word to reintroduce into the English language, don't you agree?

This pretty much says it all for stultiloquy.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

3 comments:

Liz V. said...

Who knew that there was a word for political speech. Definitely needs to be revived!

Stay well.

Ann Parker said...

Hi Liz!
I agree 100 percent!! I'm going to start shouting it whenever I stumble across examples of stultiloquence on Facebook and in the newspapers. ;-)

Carole Price said...

Um...no. I can't even pronounce the word.