There was an argument between a boyfriend and his girlfriend in a series(The Sopranos). because the boy had taken out his suitcase and his girlfriend saw the suitcase and thought he was going to leave and this boy was trying to say he didn't actually want to leave.

The man said:

There was no abundant intentionality in me getting out the suitcase.

I can understand ''There was no intentionality in me getting out the suitcase''. but I get confused when it adds abundant as an adjective. I thought it may be a phrase or something.

  • It sounds like a legal maxim to me - the doctrine of abundant intentionality. I have never heard of it before, but under English Law ( and perhaps that of countries whose traditions follow from it ) in order to prove criminality, one has to demonstrate intent. In short a person cannot be considered to have committed a crime unless they intended to. But to repeat I've never heard of abundant intentionality. But it would undoubtedly help a prosecutor's case if he could prove that it existed.
    – WS2
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 21:02
  • Broadly, "There was no abundant intentionality in me getting out the suitcase' has no useful meaning. It does serve to identify the speaker/writer as using rather strange language, but nothing else. Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 16:12

6 Answers 6


We don't read any legal or philosophical overtone in the boy's use of grandiloquent phrases. It so happens during arguments​. Being too excited we grope for words, and are more inclined to say such difficult words as we would remotely use under normal situations.

It is true that the boy is pompous, grandiose and ostensibly flashy. Perhaps, in the argument, he iscornered. His intention is found out. Only to conceal it, he takes recourse to this pompous display of thundering words. All he wants to mean is that taking out the suitcase is not proof enough that he is going to desert her. He wants to get an upper hand.


The forum I linked to discusses this phrase. I'd agree with what is written there: This is a boy who attempts to show off by using long words, but instead appears "pompous and silly".

The phrase seems to have been lifted from the "deconstructionist" group of Literary Theorists, including Jacques Derrida; and the philosophy of John Searle. In philosophy intentionality means "the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs" (wikipedia). But the joke is that the boy is trying to sound smart, when he really is not. You don't need to understand the philosophy (I don't) to get the joke.


There was no abundant intentionality in me getting out the suitcase.

I would say it means: there was intentionality in the boy but not too much (abundant) in him to let him do what he had in mind.


There was no abundant intentionality in me getting out the suitcase.

The question seems to arise from the fact that the line being delivered is consciously literary, contrived and artificial. The character seems to be attempting to describe a lack of fore-thought, planning and strong motivation to his action.


Well, I haven't heard the word "intentionality" spoken before even though I was a great Soprano fan. Abundant means a lot. A great deal. Intentionality means having the intention to do something.

A better way to have said it would have been "I didn't intentionally get out the suitcase" meaning he didn't mean to get it out. Or he could have said, "I didn't really intend to get the suitcase out" Same thing but kind of saying I got it out but I didn't really mean to. I think abundant intentionality is something no American English speaker would use. It sounds really odd to me.


It doesn't matter. The example is nonsense.

It might be suggested that There was no abundant intentionality in me/my (anything) meant I didn't mean to and otherwise, who knows?

At very best, it might be that abundant here meant clear, in which case abundant intentionality might mean clear reason for/motive to but how certain can we be?

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