talking head

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Probably from the fact that when a pundit is speaking on television, the camera often zooms in on his or her head.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

talking head (plural talking heads)

  1. (idiomatic, also attributive) A journalist or pundit, especially one on television, who presents or discusses issues of the day.
    • 1989, Mark [Stephen] Monmonier, “Maps in the Electronic Media”, in Maps with the News: The Development of American Journalistic Cartography, Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 203:
      Early TV newscasts consisted largely of "talking heads"—a reporter reading news bulletins or interviewing prominent politicians—but maps were frequently employed as visual aids, particularly for war news.
    • 1999, Laurence G. Boldt, “The Leisure to Grow”, in The Tao of Abundance, New York, N.Y.: Penguin/Arkana, →ISBN:
      We've seen the respect once reserved for serious thinkers transferred to talking-head experts, skilled at reducing their messages to thirty-second sound bites.
    • 2015, Thomas T. Holyoke, “Theodore J. Lowi, The End of Liberalism: The Second Republic of the United States”, in Steven J. Balla, Martin Lodge, and Edward C. Page, editors, The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Public Policy and Administration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 221:
      But Theodore Lowi is not a talking head leveling vitriol against the political system to make money. He is a thinker making a powerful, well-reasoned argument that resonates even with his critics, though sometimes the prose style is a little dense.