from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Foolish talk; babble.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Foolish talk; silly discource; babbling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Foolish talk; silly babbling.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin stultiloquium.



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  • "'Ungrateful!' Abram said, his face congested. 'And what should we be grateful for, then? For having soldiers foisted upon us?'

    'Oh, foisted, is it?' cried Mr. Ormiston in righteous indignation. 'Such a word! And if it means what I think it does, young man, you should get down on your knees and thank God for such foistingness! Who do you think saved you all from being scalped by red Indians or overrun by the French? And who do you think paid for it all, eh?'

    This shrewd riposte drew cheers....

    'That is absolute ... desolute ... stultiloquy,' began Abram, puffing up his insignificant chest like a scrawny pigeon...."

    —Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone (New York: Delacorte Press, 2009), 323

    March 17, 2010

  • Foolish babbling. William Venator pretty much brought this word back from oblivion in his self-published 2003 satire, Wither This Land, which told of political upheavals following the opposition by saboteurs to fox hunting in Britain (a vast controversy in the UK at the time): "The day had proceeded well at Stanthorpe but Downing Street was fuming. Cramp, caught unawares, had given an excellent stultiloquy, much to the press’s amusement, on the need for ‘action, containment for flaunting the law, overweening disapproval, community and tolerance needed.’" (Was flaunting part of the satire or an authorial error, I wonder?)

    It’s a pity it’s so rare, as there are quite a number of current political figures to whom it could be applied (no names, no pack drill). The only other modern writer I know of who has used it is John Steinbeck. It appears in his fictional portrayal of the life of the buccaneer Henry Morgan, Cup of Gold (1929): "In all the mad incongruity, the turgid stultiloquy of life, I felt, at last, securely anchored to myself."

    You might instead prefer the even rarer stultiloquence, whose adjectival form appears in Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s Not For Burning, in which Justice Tappercoom says "The whole thing’s a lot of amphigourious, stultiloquential fiddle-faddle." Both are from Latin stultiloquus, speaking foolishly, which come in turn from stultus, foolish, plus loquus, that speaks.

    (from World Wide Words)

    May 13, 2008