word salad

noun

Definition of word salad

1 psychology : unintelligible, extremely disorganized speech or writing manifested as a symptom of a mental disorder (such as schizophrenia) Damage to Wernicke's area can result in the loss of semantic associations … . Trying to speak results in garbled, nonsensical juxtapositions that neuroscientists call "word salad".— Duncan Graham-Rowe These populations, who often have psychosis, brain damage, or retardation, typically display such symptoms as sentence/word fragmentation, echolalia, neologisms, or word salad.— Garry Prouty
2 : a string of empty, incoherent, unintelligible, or nonsensical words or comments In the moments when the debate wasn't in circus form it seemed very conventional and very one-sided, with one candidate who could give complete, coherent and informed answers about issues and the other who specialized in word salad.— Robert Schlesinger … composed an essay that was a word salad of solemn academic jargon.— George Will

Examples of word salad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

By speaking so forcefully during the exchange, Harris managed to both put a human face on a long-running public policy debate and to evoke from Biden, an experienced debater, a word salad without a direct answer to her question. NBC News, "For Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, integration's painful past becomes the present," 28 June 2019 Both seem to be confused, jumbled word salads that don’t really give us any details as to just why this young man was shot and killed by police. Monique Judge, The Root, "California Police Shoot and Kill Unarmed Black Man in His Own Backyard," 20 Mar. 2018 That word salad is the sound of a mouth moving and words evaporating in a puff of dust. Will Leitch, Daily Intelligencer, "Roger Goodell Is the Prototypical Trump Enabler," 30 May 2018 This word salad is intended to withdraw Giuliani’s earlier suggestion that the FBI director was fired for not giving Trump a clean bill of health on the Russian collusion investigation. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Giuliani Walks Back Confusing Comments on Daniels and Comey, Creating New Confusion," 4 May 2018 These rough, homemade frocks surely owed a debt to the surrealists at the next tables, echoing with needle and thread the collages, the experimental films, and the word salads those artists were gleefully experimenting with. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Introducing Fashion’s Freakishly Cool New Trend: The Frankenstein Dress," 15 Mar. 2018 There's no entrance at all on the Elston side of the building, where its address is registered—just a metal wall with an assortment of small multicolored plastic letters with magnetic backs that invites passing debauchees to make word salad. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "At Fort Willow David Morton and Michael Kornich have built a tree house among the faded factories," 14 Mar. 2018 Part collage art and part word salad, some lines sound lifted from a relationship spat, others repurposed from a self-actualization seminar. New York Times, "Three Journeys Under the Radar: Trippy, Unsettling and Affectionate," 11 Jan. 2018 Unfortunately, interviewers tend to shy away from asking questions that will provoke a dreaded word salad. Jennifer Rubin, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Stable genius’ confirms he’s just not fit for the job, by tweet," 9 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'word salad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of word salad

1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about word salad

Statistics for word salad

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for word salad

The first known use of word salad was in 1904

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for word salad

word salad

noun
word sal·​ad | \ -ˌsal-əd How to pronounce word salad (audio) \

Medical Definition of word salad

: a jumble of extremely incoherent speech as sometimes observed in schizophrenia

Comments on word salad

What made you want to look up word salad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by turns or indirection

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!