The word ‘blandiloquence.’
Blandiloquence comes from a Latin word meaning “smooth-talking” or “flattering.”
blandiloquent (blan-DEL-uh-kwent) – adj., mild and smooth-talking, honey-tongued, flattering, ingratiating.
Also comes with an obsolete noun form, blandiloquence, meaning flattery. The word is borrowed from Latin where it meant smooth talk.
Interestingly … bland’s roots <latin> coincide with concepts like ‘melt’ and ‘mild.’
The word does throw you off a bit. It’s a contradiction … even a type of an oxymoron.
Bland + eloquence.
“Bland” … without strong features.
“Iloquence” , from which you get eloquence, which means “persuasive … powerful discourse.”
Chichikov, a character in one of Gogol’s books, is a lower-echelon civil servant with a corrupt past who specializes in what Gogol calls “blandiloquence” or elaborately empty compliments.
And that example leads me to why I decided to write about this <beyond the fact I learned a new word>.
There are not many things I dislike more than empty words.
You know what I mean by empty words … these are words that are ingratiating empty of any feeling or deep truth <or even simply a thought>. They are so light and empty of anything that they just seem to float along the top of meaningless drivel.
This doesn’t always translate into ‘less is more.’ This simply about words that are empty.
Because truthfully the amount of words rarely matters if what is used … is used well.
As for words not used well? Even one matters … in that even one is too many.
As for empty words? Nothing from nothing is still nothing … use few … use many … does not matter … it still, aggravatingly, equals nothing.
The one thing I dislike more than empty words?
The empty person who uses them.
The blandiloquent few.
Maybe I should just call them the bland people using eloquently empty words.
The blandiloquent are vacuous shells, masquerading as people, who victimize us with words vacant of any thought.
You can recognize these people.
First. They are bland.
Without strong features.
Colorless with no depth.
Physically they swim hither and yon wherever the tide may take them. You have no idea what they stand for or what they believe in … they have never had an original thought in their life … and they seemingly have gobs of friends … but no real friends.
Second. They are eloquent.
Persuasive and with powerful discourse.
They know the words but don’t know the value of the words. In their eloquent flattery they find solace in a belief it is self-effacing … while others see it as it is … a cheap blanket of words to warm the hearts of all they perceive as powerful … pandering to the powerful weak … pissing off the true with power.
Advertising great David Ogilvy once said this:
“Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”
These idiots … the blandiloquent … stalk the hallways of every business, not just the advertising business <sorry Mr. Ogilvy … it has spread far far beyond your own domain> everyday spreading their cheap honey to anyone who deigns to stop and accept it.
And shame on those who waste words as if they were a dime a dozen.
And … worst of all … shame on anyone who empties words to a point where they become hollow when used.
Words should have weight … gravitas … color … depth.
People who understand this embrace the burden of words.
A beautifully horrible word.
And a word we should all take note of.
We should take note of the fact this fabulous word is teetering on the brink of extinction … the Oxford English Dictionary has retained the noun, blandiloquence, and an adjectival cousin, blandiloquous but it resides on a seat overlooking all that which is often overlooked.
Harsh uncompromising truth.
In today’s politically correct world a word like blandiloquence is too harsh a truth to recognize … let alone speak out loud.
Save the word because the harsh truth behind it should not be lost.