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I was wondering how do you call information that is of little relevance, say in a newspaper article.

I thought about "anecdote/anecdotal" but it's not exactly that meaning (it rather means a short amusing account or an account that is not reliable).

Could you propose any better words?

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  • An article about a person or company that is very light is called a puff piece.
    – Lambie
    Dec 22, 2022 at 16:52

3 Answers 3

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You could try "fluff". For example: "There is a lot of fluff in this article"

This would refer to the extra bits used to make an article longer that aren't supplying the key points of the article. Maybe an opinion or some added statistics or something like that.

It is quite a colloquial word but relatively common (at least in the UK)

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There are various terms with different connotations:

Color/colour is material added to an article or story to give a bit more atmosphere or entertainment value that isn't specifically relevant to the story. The phrase "local color" is similar. Color is generally considered a good thing, at least in moderation.

Bullshit is meaningless material inserted to confuse people, often to get them to buy what you're selling or otherwise influence them improperly. There are many other similar terms for marketing material (bumf, FUD, etc). It is invariably a negative/critical term, and is sometimes considered vulgar, but thanks to the writer Harry Frankfurt has become a term of art in philosophy and the study of language.

Trivia is a more neutral term. Trivia refers to things of minor importance, often in the context of random facts that aren't useful but win you prizes in quizzes; unlike many of the words I give, it specifically refers to facts rather than expression (language or words).

Padding is content added to get something up to a word limit, for instance if you are told to write a 2000 word essay but find you only know enough for 800 words, so you add irrelevant material and repeat yourself. The verb waffle is also used (mainly in British English), and sometimes is found as a noun; see also blather and synonyms.

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If you are searching for an adjective you could try peripheral. It is a neutral term, neither positive or negative. There is not, as far as I know, a corresponding noun as periphery means something different.

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