weasel word


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weasel word

A word used to deprive a statement of its force or evade a direct commitment, as in Calling it "organized spontaneity" is using a weasel word; "organized" has sucked the meaning out of "spontaneity." This idiom may allude to the weasel's habit of sucking the contents out of a bird's egg, so that only the shell remains. [Late 1800s]
See also: weasel, word
References in periodicals archive ?
On examination, the notion seems worse than useless: society's is a cognate of the weasel word social, and community in this context is itself another weasel word, sucking out any real meaning from the word expectations.
As soon as I entered my serial number, their computer spit back a set of weasel words telling me that my time had run out.
The weasel words are "principle" and "primary" and some uncharitable folk might say the old stoat used them so as not to commit to anything.
Inconsistently, they include sufficient weasel words to carry on claiming NHS fees.
That is to say, weasel words are used to buttress claims that are meant to be beyond dispute, but upon more minute inspection are discovered to be hollow and of no true substance.
WHAT a sickening sight to see Des Browne, Defence Secretary, at the coming home of more bodies from the war in Afghanistan and the weasel words that he and his colleague (the other Brown) used at the homecoming.
Don Watson's book, Warson's) Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Cliches, Cant & Management Jargon, and the Weasel Words web site well document this abuse of language.
However, what is not overwhelming is the lack of a single comment from any member of our illustrious City Council relating to the plethora of weasel words used to promote the extension of term limits.
It is but weasel words to attempt to shift the blame on to the escorting police officers for not handcuffing him or attempting to restrain him, or to suggest that had the cells at Hexham been open that fateful evening none of this would ever have happened.
They are using weasel words deliberately designed to mislead the public and the media and cover up the fact that they have made things far worse.
There are going to be a lot of weasel words on all sides.
Legitimate objective and reasonable exercise are weasel words that the courts at all levels, with only rare exceptions, have stretched beyond recognition in support of the insatiable meddlesome and confiscatory demands of Leviathan.
This session includes weasel words are a waste, winning words are wonderful, constant calls create constant cash, organization offers opportunity, and speak to sell.
Their attempted justifications are weasel words from inadequates who shirk any responsibility for their actions.
National Treasures have taken over from Guilty Pleasures as the weasel words which masquerade as a bit of fun while actually demeaning us.