Some people write bloated books and long essays with skilful use of hooks, e.g. Jared Diamond; some others speak in long-drawn sentences with torrents of words, e.g. Noam Chomsky. It reminds me of a tactic politicians use to waste people's time. I came across this word before but I can't retrieve it from either memory or the internet.

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    This might be better on english.stackexchange.com, since it's more of a vocabulary question... or at least you're more likely to get an answer there. – Bobson Mar 26 '14 at 20:56
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    Since when is verbosity a means of rhetorical dishonesty? – Publius Mar 27 '14 at 4:27
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    @GeorgeChen Don't patronize me please. I read your question, but I'm not sure I understand it. Wait. Filibuster? – Publius Mar 27 '14 at 5:04
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    Question has been re-asked here. Voting to close this one. – Bobson Mar 27 '14 at 13:30
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    Answer from the other question is bloviate, which I don't think I've ever run across before. – Bobson Mar 27 '14 at 17:24



talk at length, esp. in an inflated or empty way.

*Kudos to bib on the English Language & Usage stack exchange.

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    I can't believe someone mentioned "bloviate" on a politics related website and Bill O'Reilley's shadow didn't make an appearance – user4012 Mar 31 '14 at 14:22
  • Sorry, I don't watch TV. – George Chen Mar 31 '14 at 17:14

Obfuscation may be the word you are looking for. It implies that a thing is being presented, but not necessarily in the most clear manner, often with the intent of deception on key details. That said, this may not be strictly political.

  • Maybe but I'm not sure. Obfuscation is aimed to make obscure. The word I'm searching for is aimed to consume people's waking hours. – George Chen Mar 27 '14 at 0:02
  • @GeorgeChen This is literally what you would do if you wanted to waste someones time. Unless you mean something more like talking over someone else, like on TV? – Razie Mah Mar 28 '14 at 4:10

Somewhat related is the Gish gallop https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gish_gallop where you do an 'argument dump' to overwhelm your opponent.


This is a bit of a long shot, but:

It reminds me of a tactic politicians use to waste people's time.

This makes me think you're referring to the filibuster. The filibuster is a procedural tool in which a politician will just keep talking and talking in order to prolong debate and prevent the bill from coming to a vote.

Nowadays though, in the US Senate, you don't need to actually talk to filibuster. The procedural filibuster allows politicians to just announce that they are going to filibuster, at which point it takes a super-majority of votes to override the filibuster. However, a recent rules change means that it only takes a normal majority of votes to override a filibuster of a non-judicial presidential nominee.

  • Very close. But the tactic in question is also used in blogs and news articles where hooks are skilfully used to keep people reading on and on. – George Chen Mar 27 '14 at 5:19
  • What, like viral headlines and dull articles? I don't think there's a name for that, but that's not a politics question, it's an english one. – Publius Mar 27 '14 at 5:20
  • It's a political one. It aims at distraction rather than deceit. – George Chen Mar 27 '14 at 5:32
  • I'm not totally sure I see the difference, and you're giving examples of its use in areas outside of politics. The English SE is full of people asking if there's a word for something. I don't think this is suited to this site unless it's a technical political term. – Publius Mar 27 '14 at 5:40

You may also wish to consider the word 'inundate' as in to overwhelm with information.

The lawyers were inundated with useless credit card statements, but there was really one one charge that needed to be disclosed.

  • Good one. Still,there are occasions when one feels inundated but the materials that overwhelm this person are nevertheless necessary. – George Chen Mar 28 '14 at 17:51

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