I think too fast, therefore what am I?
September 30, 2010 6:42 PM   Subscribe

What is it called when you make a mistake because you are thinking faster than you can speak/type/etc.?

I'm guessing most people have experienced the phenomenon of making a typing mistake because they are thinking a few words ahead of where they are typing, or combine words together into weird non-words for the same reason - your speaking "caught up" to your thoughts mid-word. Is there a name for this kind of mistake? Google-fu for such terms as "thinking faster than speaking" only came up with an entry in UrbanDictionary for "thoulk," i.e. the result of such a mistake, but this only makes me more curious as to whether there is a (not made up) term for this common occurrence.
posted by caminovereda to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Paragon at 6:45 PM on September 30, 2010

Your mouth is writing checks your brain cannot cash.

posted by jchaw at 6:54 PM on September 30, 2010

Opps. I got it the wrong way.

Darn! I am making a fool of myself! :)
posted by jchaw at 6:55 PM on September 30, 2010

Your mouth is in motion before your brain is in gear.
posted by LonnieK at 7:02 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Adjectives: Headlong, abbreviated, clipped.

Phrases: Falling over oneself, tripping over one's words.

Technical: Elision
posted by Rhaomi at 7:07 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I was hoping there was a more general term to cover all cases of this type of mistake, but anticipation is what I was thinking of in regards to speech and falling over oneself when "doing" something are right on target. Thanks!
posted by caminovereda at 7:48 PM on September 30, 2010

Cluttering? This definition is a little different from what I remembered. I thought of it as trying to talk too fast and sometimes trying to say say two different words simultaneously, which of course is impossible. I used to do this sometimes when I was a kid, and still occasionally as an adult (but not very often). PsychNet defines it more vaguely as something like 'a disfluency that's not stuttering,' but it seems to include the kind of thing you're asking about.

I'm not sure speach "cluttering" is related to getting ahead of yourself in typing, even though conceptually it's similar.

I really like the word "thoulk," by the way. It's perfect.
posted by nangar at 10:42 PM on September 30, 2010

I do that all the time and like to refer to it affectionately as "muckle mouth" (sp?). If my memory is correct, that's what Holden Caulfield called it when his female friend from his youth would do that (the friend with whom he played checkers with who always kept her kings in the back row).
posted by shornco at 7:35 AM on October 1, 2010

"Anticipation" is simply a descriptive term for a type of speech error. Saying that someone was experiencing "anticipation" would not clearly refer to a speech issue at all, considering anticipation's widely understood usual meaning.

"Tripping over my own words" is a pretty common way to describe this.
posted by General Tonic at 9:11 AM on October 1, 2010

I call them thinko. like typo.
posted by bleary at 10:56 AM on October 1, 2010

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