what does verbiage mean?

Monday, March 16, 2009

1. overabundance or superfluity of words, as in writing or speech; wordiness; verbosity.
2. manner or style of expressing something in words; wording: a manual of official verbiage.

However, many people use it to mean, "phraseology," which is closer to the second definition of verbiage: manner or style of verbal expression; characteristic language.

(For example, I just edited a piece where the author used "verbiage" to mean "phrase." [I suspect the author did it because "verbiage" sounds smart, but it doesn't when you use it improperly].)

Anyway, using "verbiage" to mean the second definition can be confusing to someone who takes "verbiage" to mean "overabundance of words," so it's probably best to stick to "phraseology" when you mean "manner of expression something in words."