Is there a verb to use for expressing memorizing something too much to the extent that the speaker wouldn't be concentrating on what s/he is actually saying, so the words would come out as meaningless to him/her.

It may appear as a positive or negative thing depending on the situation.

We have it in Arabic "بَصَمَ" (pronounced as Basama), it is in its past simple form.


He _______ (memorized) his section after getting rebuked by his teacher.

The word would fill the blank instead of "memorized".

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    I can't think of such a verb, but the phrase learn by rote might come close to what you're looking for. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 12:39
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    Do you mean things like as schoolchild learning to recite a poem by heart, without having the slightest idea what it means? That's sometimes called rote learning - but it's based on the idea of repetition as an aid to memorization, which doesn't seem central to your context. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 12:39
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    I've used "scripted" before in the context you're describing (e.g, I memorized/scripted a response to a question while not knowing what the answer really means), but not sure if that is exactly what you're looking for Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 12:53
  • @FumbleFingers _ Thank you so much! I believe you are right that it won't be a very good fit to what I've described as it is also more of a technique. About the first question, no, it is not related to any specific age group. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 18:19
  • @Wondercricket _ "Scripted" seems to make a great suggestion. Thank you so much! But could you please clarify it more? I find it the nearest, if not exactly, what I'm looking for. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


You might find "over-rehearsed" is close, but it's only negative: it doesn't mean the speaker doesn't understand the words, only that they are spoken in such a dull way it seems insincere.

You can use it like this:

  • He over-rehearsed his answer and didn't sound convincing at all.
  • He had over-rehearsed his speech and there was no passion in his voice.

This also applies literally to musicians or actors.

The effect of seeing or saying a word until it's meaningless is called "semantic satiation", but that would only ever be used in an academic context. Wikipedia

For a positive description:

  • He worked so hard he knew it by heart
  • He worked so hard he knew it backwards
  • It is a good step that you've attached the Wikipedia link page as I haven't searched that term but only the first one when you have inserted the comment. It makes a great fit too. Thanks again! Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 9:09

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