Word of the Day

Saturday, May 19, 2012


\FAT-ik\ , adjective;
Denoting speech used to create an atmosphere of goodwill.
We conduct phatic discourse indispensable to maintaining a constant connection among speakers; but phatic speech is indispensable precisely because it keeps the possibility of communication in working order, for the purpose of other and more substantial communications.
-- Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality
They're just filling the air with noise. This is what's called phatic speech. "How are you?" they might ask.
-- Adriana Lopez, Fifteen Candles
Coined by the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, phatic was first used in 1923. It probably comes from the Greek word phatos meaning "spoken."
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