- (idiomatic) Idle conversation, typically on innocuous or unimportant subjects, usually engaged in at social gatherings out of politeness.
1814 July, [Jane Austen], chapter VII, in Mansfield Park: A Novel. In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for T[homas] Egerton, Military Library, Whitehall, OCLC 39810224, page 134:
- [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 June 10, John Cloud, “Michael Jackson 1958–2009”, in Time:
- Yet for so public a figure, Jackson was socially awkward, inept at small talk and terrified when the distant audience became an adoring mob.