filler

Definitions

General Science

  • noun a substance used to add bulk or strength to a material
  • noun a semisolid substance that hardens when dried and is used to fill cracks or openings in wood, plaster or other materials

Cars & Driving

  • noun a paste usually with a polyester base which, when mixed with a hardener, forms a surface which can be sanded smooth and is suitable for repairs to dented or rusted bodywork.
  • noun an inert material added to paper, resins, and other substances to modify their properties and improve quality; e.g. carbon black used in tyre production
  • noun an orifice into which a liquid such as oil or petrol can be poured

Construction

  • Finely divided inert material, such as pulverized limestone, silica, or colloidal substances sometimes added to Portland cement, paint or other materials to reduce shrinkage, improve workability, or act as an extender.
  • Material used to fill an opening in a form.

Electronics

  • That which serves to fill.

Publishing

  • noun something which fills a space, e.g. a small news item or a free advertisement in a newspaper
  • noun a substance added to paper pulp to improve the opacity.

Real Estate

  • noun a substance used to plug a crack or cavity or smooth a surface

Idiom of “filler”

Conversational fillers are a feature of unrehearsed speech in all languages, so they are frequently highly colloquial and by definition idiomatic. They are believed to contribute to fluency in speakers, who do not – after all – normally speak in perfectly punctuated paragraphs. Rather do they punctuate their speech with expressions such as sort of, isn’t it?, as you might say, how can I put it? Fillers have as much to do with maintaining communicative bonds as they have to do with exchanging information. Hence the various grunt sounds like uh, er, um, ah and words like y’know, cool, absolutely among youths.

Common fillers may be conversational courtesies such as greetings (Hi!, Hello!, How do you do?, Feeling OK?, How’s it going?
) or excuses (Sorry!, Excuse me!) or thanks (Thank you, You’re welcome, Don’t mention it.) or farewells (Bye!, See you, Cheerio) or requests (Would you mind…, Could you possibly…), etc.

Among the commonest fillers are and (all) that, as it were, after all, by the way/by, don’t you know, you see, in fact, at this time, on the whole, for the most part, not in the least, may I just add, mind you, quite frankly, well I ask you, really, as we all know, speaking for myself. Sometimes they are amplified: in actual fact, in point of fact, at this precise point in time, speaking purely for myself.

As semi-redundant expressions as far as meaning is concerned, only a few fillers are listed and glossed in the main dictionary.

The Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski’s term ‘phatic communion’ (1923) includes fillers and ‘idiot salutations’, such as exchanges about a person’s health or about current weather conditions. These are examples of language used to establish an atmosphere conducive to the communication of the speakers’ feelings rather than their ideas.
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