Learn English – What does “voicey” mean


What does the word voicey mean in this sentence?

It is a very voicey and opinionated book about product management.

I have googled in almost every dictionary without any output.

Could you please point out where I can search out this word?

This is the original sentence. It appears in the acknowledgment part of a book about product management:

Thanks to Mary Treseler, Angela Runo, Laurel Ruma, Meg Foley, and everybody at O’Reilly Media for turning a pitch about a “very voicey and opinionated book about product management” into a real thing.

Best Answer

English is a language that’s free to create ad-hoc words by applying productive affixes to existing words via derivational morphology. This is often done to convert between word-classes, such as from noun to adjective.

The ‑y suffix, in certain cases spelled ‑ey, is a productive Modern English suffix deriving from Old English, where it was spelled ‑ig, much as in our cousin tongues Dutch and German. In Middle English it was variously spelled ‑i, ‑ye, ‑ie. The OED notes:

When the suffix is appended to a n. ending in y, the convention of modern spelling requires it to be spelt ‑ey, as in clayey, skyey, wheyey. When the n. ends in e preceded by a vowel, the e is retained, as bluey, gluey; in other cases there may be variation, as homey, homy, liney, liny, nosey, nosy.

Here the base word is clearly voice, which retains the ‑e‑ when the ‑y is appended as it does in dice > dicey, space > spacey, unlike in ice > icy, price > pricy.

The OED entry on this suffix is rather long, but the critical sense is immediately given by:

  1. The general sense of this suffix is ‘having the qualities of’ or ‘full of’ that which is denoted by the n. to which it is added

After describing many developments in Old English and Middle English, the OED notes:

Later new derivatives tend in a large measure to be colloquial, undignified, or trivial, as bumpy, dumpy, flighty, hammy, liney, loopy, lumpy, lungy, messy, oniony, treey, verminy, vipery; some are from verbs, as dangly.

Which is what we see in sense 4:

  1. From the early years of the 19th cent. the suffix has been used still more freely in nonce-words designed to connote such characteristics of a person or thing as call for condemnation, ridicule, or contempt; hence such adjs. as beery, catty, churchy, jumpy, newspapery, piggy, tinny.

This is a nonce-word; the ad-hoc creation of voicey is in keeping with that note’s observations, as this is a colloquial and undignified-sounding word that’s here synonymous with preachy, meaning that it is tediously moralistic or sententious. It has too much “voice”; it is too loud and too judgemental, as its use of opinionated also shows.