Denoting or relating to language used for general purposes of social interaction, rather than to convey information or ask questions. Utterances such as hello, how are you? and nice morning, isn’t it? are phatic.
- But there are many instances where the address carries no more specific a meaning than is conveyed by ‘lovely days, isn't it ’, what the linguists call phatic utterances.
- Roman Jakobson defines the phatic as a ‘contact function’ in language, ‘serving primarily to establish, to prolong, or to discontinue communication’ between speaker and interlocutor.
- I made a phatic utterance that sounded something like ‘uhmmhmm.’
1920s: from Greek phatos 'spoken' or phatikos 'affirming'.
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