weasel word


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weasel words

Language employed to avoid directly stating a position or answering a question, or to enhance the appearance of something. Wikipedia discourages the use of weasel words in its encyclopedia entries to decrease the possibility of bias. If you read the transcript of his press conference, you'll see that there's barely any substances—it's nearly all weasel words.
See also: weasel, word

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

weasel word

A word that takes away the meaning from a statement, just as a weasel sucks the meat from an egg. The term dates from about 1900 and was popularized by Theodore Roosevelt. In a 1916 speech criticizing President Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt said, “You can have universal training or you can have voluntary training but when you use the word ‘voluntary’ to qualify the word ‘universal’ you are using a weasel word; it has sucked all the meaning out of ‘universal.’ The two words flatly contradict one another.”
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.
I sent an e-mail to their technical support with a few questions and got back a reply that appeared to be an automated set of weasel words telling me that I could essentially buzz off: I was no longer entitled to such service as my computer was no longer under warrantee.
THE MD of Newcastle United will deserve a very small footnote in the sad history of sports industry weasel words by his comments on the behaviour of Papiss Cissse.
Weasel words are those that are twisted or misleading, used to benefit the individual uttering them.
Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP said: "The Welsh people know the truth, the Conservatives' only interest in Wales lies in attacking it and no amount of weasel words from the Conservative Party chairman will change that."
Secretary of State John Kerry, are likely sometime this year to culminate in an agreed FAPSthat is, a Framework Agreement for a Peace Settlementbut only by means of studied, deliberate ambiguity: a generous use of weasel words, the allowance of unilateral reservations, a nonbinding status, and the careful avoidance of the more intractable issues.
Oh you're so right Sandra Camwell In everything you say That our teachers don't need pillorying While politicians get away With all their varied misdeeds And all their weasel words A few are brought to book But for most - it's House of Lords!
I would like these bosses to put the answer to the questions I have asked here for everybody who uses aeroplanes at the other airports to see the answer and, please, no weasel words or putting the blame on everyone else, as I, and I think a lot of other people, think that there is an ulterior motive behind this from Peel bosses.
While Mitchell has apologised for the foul-mouthed broadside at the police officers employed to safeguard the MP and his peers, Mr Mitchell continues to employ weasel words to avoid denying that he called the officers "plebs" and "morons".
They wring their hands and say weasel words, but they have done nothing to stop this unwanted and unnecessary radical change.
But Welsh Labour Leader Carwyn Jones said: "People in Wales won't be fooled by his weasel words. They know that the only party committed to standing up for them and their families is Welsh Labour."
Inconsistently, they include sufficient weasel words to carry on claiming NHS fees.
The origin of the expression "weasel words" derives from the way a weasel devours the contents of an egg, leaving the shell empty, but seemingly undisturbed to a casual observer.
Instead, reporters are encouraged to throw away the weasel words and call it like they see it when they think public officials have revealed themselves as phonies or flip-floppers."
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.