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illustration Embolalia



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Ancient Greek, late 19th century


Automatic speech; verbalization that occurs without conscious effort by the individual, such as repetitions and filler words.

Examples of Embolalia in a sentence

"When Suhrid is nervous, he struggles to keep from repeating embolalia such as “you know” and “like.”"

"I asked the transcriber to remove the embolalia from the text the next time they transcribed my recorded class."

About Embolalia

“Embolalia” is based on the ancient Greek “émbolos,” meaning “something thrown in,” with the suffix “-lalia,” meaning “talk.”

Did you Know?

“Embolalia” describes a category of words sometimes called “hesitation forms,” which are words and expressions that speakers fall back on to fill space during pauses in conversation. These expressions — including “uh,” “like,” “you know,” “kinda,” and “know what I’m saying?” — rarely contribute to the overall message from the speaker. However, embolalia serves a purpose to create pauses in conversation. These pauses might indicate a speaker is searching for the appropriate words, but they can also give the speaker a moment to think longer and the listener a chance to process.

illustration Embolalia

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