I'd like to describe something as uninteresting, dull, boring, but in a friendly manner that doesn't make anyone feel put off or feel sad.

I could perhaps write "not super interesting". That would make the point, I think, without using any negative words.

But I'm looking for a single word. Is there no single friendly and respectful word for something that is uninteresting plus perhaps a bit boring / dull?

  • How to speak in a manner that doesn't make people feel sad is off-topic.
    – TimR
    May 22, 2015 at 17:10
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    There is a phrase, "Damned by faint praise"… an example - after spending the day at the fun-fair, to tell your host it was "interesting" would do the trick. Who wants an interesting fun-fair, you want an exciting one. May 22, 2015 at 17:29
  • Do you have a word for that in your native language ? Jan 13, 2017 at 15:55
  • @TeleportingGoat Hmm... That'd be in Swedish. Not that I can think of, no.
    – KajMagnus
    Jan 16, 2017 at 8:10

2 Answers 2



Lacking brightness or interest; drearily dull.



Not exciting; dull.

Unfortunately, it's going to be difficult to phrase this in a "friendly" manner since you're essentially saying you don't like their thing/task... whatever it is.

Uninspiring could work

Not producing excitement or interest

And some other options on the thesaurus under uninspiring:

boring, dull, dreary, unexciting, unstimulating, uninvolving;
dry, colorless, bland, lackluster, tedious, flaccid, formulaic, humdrum, run-of-the-mill, by-the-numbers

And under uninteresting:

unexciting, boring, dull, tiresome, wearisome, soporific, tedious, jejune, lifeless, lackluster, humdrum, colorless, soulless, bland, insipid, banal, dry, dreary, drab, pedestrian, uninvolving, lacking

  • 1
    I thought of pedestrian. Another I thought of (surprisingly, not in your list) is mundane.
    – J.R.
    May 22, 2015 at 17:32
  • @J.R. Interesting. It was on the list on another thesaurus site... along with many other options. There are lots of words for this, though I'd argue that few of them fit the "friendly" requirement.
    – Catija
    May 22, 2015 at 17:35
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    @Catija Yes perhaps there's no really good word. And even if there was, eventually it might get tainted by the fact that it means that one thought whatever-it-was actually was a bit uninteresting/boring/dull.
    – KajMagnus
    May 22, 2015 at 18:06
  • @KajMagnus You can always look at it from the point of view of "what if we did this instead". Rather than saying "no" to the uninteresting thing, is a way to make it interesting?
    – Catija
    May 22, 2015 at 18:07
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    @Kaj - You can sometimes soften negative words like these with qualifiers. Sure, "That movie was mundane," isn't much different than "That movie was dull," but if you say, "That movie was just a little too mundane for my liking," or, "That was a tad bit pedestrian," it's less likely to sound overly negative. Sometimes the solution isn't one elusive magic word, but the surrounding words that couch your remarks. (I'm guessing that's the reason for the downvote, too – some people get frustrated with requests that demand a single word rather than ask about how to best communicate something.)
    – J.R.
    May 22, 2015 at 19:59

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