small talk

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small talk (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) Idle conversation, typically on innocuous or unimportant subjects, usually engaged in at social gatherings out of politeness.
    • 1814, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ch. 7:
      [T]o the credit of the lady it may be added that . . . without any of the arts of flattery or the gaieties of small talk, he began to be agreeable to her.
    • 1910, P. G. Wodehouse, "Misunderstood":
      If he had a fault as a conversationalist, it was a certain tendency to monotony, a certain lack of sparkle and variety in his small-talk.
    • 2009, John Cloud, "Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009," Time, 26 June:
      Yet for so public a figure, Jackson was socially awkward, inept at small talk and terrified when the distant audience became an adoring mob.




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