Ventriloquy: The act, art or practice of speaking in such a manner that the voice appears to come not from the person, but from some distant place.

Ventriloquy comes from the Latin word ventriloquus which itself comes from two other Latin words. Venter means stomach or belly.  And loqui means to speak.  So, a ventriloquist is someone who appears to be speaking, not with the mouth, but with, perhaps, the stomach.

The ancients believed that a person practicing ventriloquy was under duress, or under the spell of a demonic power, or the power of a deity.


Pauciloquent: Using few words.  Brief in speech.  Taciturn.  Succinct.  Laconic. Breviloquent.

Pauciloquent comes from the Latin words paucus which means “few” and the Latin verb loquor, meaning “I speak”.

“The pauciloquent beggar received few pennies.” 

“The pauciloquent king was dethroned.” 

– From Stephen (a student in my early morning class, Word Up: Live!)

Two words, same meaning

In our series, “Word Up: Live!” this morning, we looked at two English words.  Here they are:

Loquacious: talkative; garrulous; apt to blab and disclose secrets.

Loquacious comes from the Latin verb loquor, meaning “I speak”.

Here are a few example sentences:

“He lacked close friends as he was loquacious, brawling, and ever in the wrong.”

A student in class came up with the following:

“The loquacious man was unable to keep his friend’s secret.”


The next word, which means almost the same thing is multiloquent.

Multiloquent: Excessive talkativeness; loquaciousness; prolixity. 

Multiloquent comes from two Latin words.  Multus means, much or many.  The Latin verb loquor, means “I speak”.  Together they create the word multiloquent.

Here are a few example sentences:

“During the concert, the multiloquent singer bored us by talking excessively between each song.”

“Tripped up by his own multiloquence, the speaker stammered during his speech.”

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Interlocutor: a person who participates in a dialogue or takes part in a conversation; a talker, or a mediator between others.

Interlocutor comes from the Latin inter, meaning “between” and the Latin verb loquor, meaning “I speak”.

For example:

“After our difficult conversation, we thought it might be best to continue with the help of an interlocutor.”

“The Duke, acting as interlocutor, was speaking with the queen when the king entered the conversation.”

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