word salad


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
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 But Drew Brees needs to prove there is substance to his mea culpa, that his wasn’t yet another word salad from someone who doesn’t get it and just wants all this to go away. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Drew Brees needs to do more than apologize for comments on protests," 4 June 2020 Start with the word salad of Marxism, anarchism, and existentialism. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "'Imagine' is a bad, bad song," 4 June 2020 With the assassination of Soleimani, disregard for truth and reality – and examples of Madame Bovary-esque word salad – remains as blatant as ever. Susanna Lee, The Conversation, "We’re living in the bizarre world that Flaubert envisioned," 10 Jan. 2020 And the new dumbed-down gallery headings and word salads of the main wall texts definitely need work. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "MoMA’s Art Treasure, No Longer Buried," 17 Oct. 2019 The child’s harried voice had devolved into the word salad of the psychotic. The New Yorker, "Toni Morrison, Remembered By Writers," 10 Aug. 2019 This is not the first time that Biden has thrown out Trumpian word salads. BostonGlobe.com, "We need to talk about Joe Biden.," 15 Sep. 2019 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

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.

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First Known Use of word salad

1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for word salad

Time Traveler

The first known use of word salad was in 1904

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Statistics for word salad

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Word salad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/word%20salad. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for word salad

word salad

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

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