Looking for a word in between glib, vapid, pointless and pithy.

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by nirakar, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    I thought Pithy had a connotation of condescension and flippantness prior to my reading the definition of pithy which I did before starting this thread.

    I was thinking about how to describe the negative aspects of a typical sciforums post (including my own) when I realized that I was lacking the right word for the quality of speech that is on the internet in general not just sciforums. Then I realized that TV and radio are moving in the direction of the internet with more flaming and less pretension of scholarlyness than in the past.

    Texting just increases the trend towards evocative little snippets of communication.

    At it's best short internet posts and texts are pithy by the traditional definition of pithy. But usually posts are more flippant or smarmy than pithy.

    I am not faulting the way people including myself write posts. The internet is what it is. Texting is what texting is. Cable News is what cable news is. The past is over and this something new will be the past soon enough.
     
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  3. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Yes pithy to me means gritty, substantial, to the point. (UK)

    @nirakrar
    What is not covered by the word vapid?
    Vacant and insipid. Perfect.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
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  5. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Also short.
    (According to my dictionary).
     
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  7. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    Vapid is not perfect because what I see is not lacking in energy or life as would be implied by the word vapid. The Bantering quality and glibness or smarmyness have plenty of life.

    Glib, flippant and Smarmy are closer to the mark than vapid.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    "Pithy" means concise and powerful, not what the OP is looking for at all. "Smarmy" is also not right: it means obsequious (insincerely flattering).

    I don't know the answer either, but of all the words I've seen suggested here, "vapid" comes closest for me. "Vapid" is from the same root as "vapor"--lightweight, insubstantial, ephemeral.

    English has many pairs of Latin words of that form and it's fun to look for them. Rigid/rigor, candid/candor, squalid/squalor, horrid/horror...
     
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    How about Frivolous?
     
  10. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    The definitions I see for Vapid keep involving a sort of lifelessness or lack of energy. I see plenty of life in the average post or on the internet and in the perkyness of of news anchors. I just don't see depth. Occasionally there are signs of depth in the more pithy communication but there is no elaboration. Mostly the News anchors on TV act like what they are saying is important but it is not clear that they know what they are talking about. You can say the same for people who post on the internet.

    From a definition of "Smarmy": revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, or false earnestness. "Smug" and "false earnestness" relate to what I am thinking about but "ingratiating" does not.
     
  11. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    Frivolous is not bad a bad description for the lines that the News Anchors deliver while trying to look authoritative, but it does not work as well for the lines that internet posters post because nobody ever claimed that what we are doing was not frivolous. Frivolous is good though it still mises something of the feeling I was looking for. We can't have a word for every nuance so frivolous and the other words are good enough.

    Etymology: Middle English, from Latin frivolus
    Date: 15th century

    1 a : of little weight or importance b : having no sound basis (as in fact or law) <a frivolous lawsuit>
    2 a : lacking in seriousness b : marked by unbecoming levity
     
  12. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Really?
    On the internet someone will give you a kick up the arse if you try to appear authoritative without displaying actual expertise, but it still constantly happens.

    (I'm glad I'm using Chrome, because I thought the word was authorative, which is how it is pronounced I think,and it was highlighted in red)
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Not in America. It has five distinct syllables: uh-THOR-uh-TAY-tiv. I've never heard a Brit pronounce it; they have a way of resolutely shortening words and talking much faster than we do. Like their two-syllable STRAWD-nry for our six-syllable EK-struh-OR-duh-NAIR-ee.

    Our Southerners think we talk too fast. They must not be able to understand British English at all. (Or even worse, Indian English.)
     
  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    How did people in the US ever understand what Tony Blair was talking about?
    He can fire off sentences like a machine gun.
    Some of his utterances must have come across as the Brit equivalent of street talk on "The Wire", a series which I have watched with admiration and wonder while understanding possibly a quarter of what was being said.

    Re the Wire.
    It would be a good dissertation subject for a linguist.
    It has been described as the American Ulysses.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  15. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    It's very rare that I have heard it pronounced that way in the Northeast.
    We have the five syllable ex-STRAW-din-err-ee
     
  16. Zac123 Registered Member

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    latest news

    I'm on this forum all the time, trying to look for places to get my science news, but recently found this site called fingertips.net, has anyone else seen it already? I've never heard of it before, am I completely out of touch?
     
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I'm on this site all the time too for scientific information, and I'm often disappointed.
    Most of the people here seem to be grasping at illumination, the same as myself.
    Perhaps I should be looking at FINGERTIPS.NET for my sustenance.
    Must try it sometime.
     
  18. sniffy Banned Banned

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    twaddle
    tripe
    twitter
     
  19. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Nirakrar.
    You need to post a new set of synonyms which more accurately approximate the word. Without "pithy", surely sniffy's "twaddle" fits.
     

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