word salad


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
: 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 Sheila, spouting a bunch of authoritative-sounding word salad. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, 8 May 2024 More recently though, some fans have soured on Romo’s schtick, tiring of his enthusiasm with partner Jim Nantz and occasional word salads. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2024 Asked at a New Hampshire town hall broadcast in May about her refusal to expand the program, Haley responded with a word salad about job-creation programs her state had sponsored, rather than on addressing the healthcare needs of lower-income residents. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024 Their purpose is pretty clear: take every side of an issue and amplify it by nonsense, word salad, insults, violent musings, denigrating the media and government, and outright lies, just to stir things up and pit us against one another. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2024 That word salad gets us nowhere, skating glibly over the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade, as played out in states where stringent antiabortion statutes have had devastating consequences for the health of pregnant women and their access to medical care. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2023 Vice President Kamala Harris' attempt to explain artificial intelligence (AI) to a group of labor and civil rights leaders on Wednesday instead became her latest word salad gaffe, something she's become increasingly known for during her time in the role. Brandon Gillespie, Fox News, 12 July 2023 That tasty word salad came in conjunction with the Orioles declining to exercise a five-year option on their Camden Yards lease. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 16 June 2023 So far, the right has expressed its complaints about ESG via a word salad whose components don’t share much of a relationship either to reality or one another. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 11 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'word salad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of word salad was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near word salad

Cite this Entry

“Word salad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/word%20salad. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

word salad

word sal·​ad -ˌsal-əd How to pronounce word salad (audio)
: a jumble of extremely incoherent speech as sometimes observed in schizophrenia
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