Word salad

confused unintelligible jumble of words and phrases
(Redirected from Nonsense)

Word salad is language with meaningless, scrambled words. It is a "confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases".[1]

'Word salad' is most often used for a symptom of a neurological or mental disorder. The words may or may not be grammatically correct. The key thing is that a listener cannot get any meaning from them. The term is often used in psychiatry and theoretical linguistics to describe language which native speakers judge is meaningless.

In mental health diagnoses


Word salad occurs in neurological or psychological cases in which a person tries to communicate, and words and phrases come out – but make no sense. Often, the person is unaware that they did not make sense. It appears in people with dementia and schizophrenia,[2] and after anoxic brain injury.

It may be present as:

In computing


Word salad can be generated by a computer program for various purposes.[5]

Mojibake, also called Buchstabensalat ("letter salad") in German, is an effect similar to word salad, in which an assortment of seemingly-random text is generated.



  1. "Definition of "word salad". Oxford University Press. 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  2. Shives, Louise Rebraca (2008). Basic concepts of psychiatric-mental health nursing. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7817-9707-8.
  3. "Merck Manual". merckmanuals.com. Merck Publishing. Retrieved 2014-12-06.
  4. Geschwind, Norman (1974). Selected papers on language and the brain (2. print. ed.). Dordrecht ; Boston: Reidel. p. 80. ISBN 9789027702623.
  5. Berinato, Scott (April 2007). "The scourge of image spam: image spam techniques". Cso : The Resource for Security Executives. 6 (4). CXO Media Inc. ISSN 1540-904X.