Looking for something with a negative connotation. The only thing I can think of is "conversation-killer", but that's not idiomatic, and I've never heard someone use it. I am pretty sure there must be something, a word, maybe. If you can't think of a word, can you think of an idiom or coined phrase?

For example:

That was a real ___, it completely shut us up.

  • 1
    Bombshell? Zinger? Show-stopper? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 7 '19 at 12:51
  • What if you're looking for a word that implies something negative. – frbsfok Apr 7 '19 at 12:54
  • @frbsfok I have something for a negative, but you should edit your question to include that as a requirement. – Jason Bassford Apr 7 '19 at 13:20
  • There is "the remark went down like a lead balloon" (as in the metal lead) but the usage is more general than killing a conversation. – Weather Vane Apr 7 '19 at 14:04
  • Before the referendum, I was in a shared taxi in Spain with a middle class British couple from Kent, I think they thought I was like them. I incautiously said "If you want to know which way to vote on Brexit, you just have to look at the people who support it". If there had been a thermometer in the vehicle, the mercury would have plunged. Eventually, the wife, coolly, but with the hint of a mischievous smile, said "What do you mean?" and I hastily said, "Well, Michael Gove is a toad of a man, and as for Farage...". She grinned at me in such a way that her husband could not see. – Michael Harvey Apr 7 '19 at 14:27

A "conversation-stopper" is an expression for that kind of thing. Embarrassment and shock are pretty negative where I come from.


noun [ C usually singular ] ​ a remark that stops the natural flow of the conversation because it is unexpected and in some way causes embarrassment or shock:

When she told us her son was in prison, it was a real conversation-stopper.

Conversation-stopper (Cambridge Dictionary)


For slang, there is buzzkill:

: one that has a depressing or negative effect

// Skyler became a buzzkill, and that pissed viewers off.
— Anne T. Donahue, Marie Claire, "Even If You Hated Skyler White on Breaking Bad, She Changed TV Forever," 9 Aug. 2018

// And, not to be a total buzzkill, but there are only stores in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts at the moment.
— Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "8 Things You Should Know Before Shopping at Homesense," 3 Aug. 2018

In the example sentence:

That was a real buzzkill, it completely shut us up.

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