Is there any expression in English about a person who tells things unrelated to the topic being discussed? E.g., when you are talking about grammar, she suddenly starts to talk about a party she has been to.

The main reason I asked this question is that in my mother tongue we have an expression for such a person and I am trying to find a good equivalent in English. It is "a malapropos rooster." It is said because this person acts like a rooster which doesn't know when is the right time to crow. I searched a lot, but it sounds there is no such expression or idiom in English.

  • [says things, not tells things]
    – Lambie
    Jun 21, 2019 at 14:49

3 Answers 3


There are several possible reasons for the changes in subject, and there isn't really a blanket word that covers all of them. Here are some specific terms:

evasive - because they don't want to answer a question

inattentive - because they are not listening to what you are saying (this can be a medical diagnosis, or because you're boring ;-)

scatter-brained - because they have difficulty concentrating

right-brained - because every stimulus starts a train of brilliant ideas

random because they are young and want you to know that they are not boring or conventional

  • +1 also distractible - attention easily diverted by the environment.
    – Adam
    May 3, 2016 at 20:54

The thing actually said that doesn't fit the rest of the conversation is called a "non-sequitur". All of the other words listed above could be reasons that the person has interjected a non-sequitur into the conversation.

  • True, but this does not answer the question, which asks for a term to describe the person so speaking.
    – Davo
    Aug 28, 2017 at 16:05
  • A person who speaks in non-sequiturs would be fine. When one subject a person mentions is unrelated to another. The OP said: expression, not an adjective,not a single word.
    – Lambie
    Jun 21, 2019 at 14:50

“Apropos of nothing” means having no relevance to the previous topic of discussion. I think this fits best for what you’re asking.

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