word salad

noun
|Updated on: 28 Jun 2018

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

Recent Examples of word salad from the Web

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.

First Known Use of word salad

1904

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Medical Dictionary

word salad

noun word sal·ad \ -ˌsal-əd \

medical Definition of word salad

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

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