weasel words


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Related to weasel words: Weasel family

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 ?
Carwyn Jones (inset) warned the public to beware the Coalition's "Weasel Words"
These malicious linguistic sleights of hand (including other equally noxious adverbial phrases such as "obviously," "of course," "inarguably," etc.) merit the appellation "weasel words" because of the insidious way they communicate the author's biases without tipping off the reader that anything despicable is going on between the lines.
Weasel word is not defined, but one readily gets the idea.
In "Weasel Words: The Dictionary of American Doublespeak," University of Maryland professors Paul Wasserman and Don Hausrath shine the spotlight on language that obscures rather than illuminates.
The "weasel words" and downright mendacity contained in many public statements from our bishops and from the pulpit should bring shame on all of us.
The fact is that the application of those weasel words is a matter of politics, not business; and if C.S.R.
"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.
When someone 'weasels out', they are backing out of a situation or commitment in a sneaky or cowardly manner, likely by using a set of well thought-out 'weasel words'.
There are going to be a lot of weasel words on all sides.
These "weasel words," as Blake refers to them, are [often] needed to convey a tone of cooperation and reasonableness in letters to insureds and their attorneys.
Bush, who has yet to announce his candidacy, has drawn fire from the announced candidates for describing himself as a "compassionate conservative." Alexander called the term "weasel words," and at the January 21 meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Bauer, surrounded by supporters in BAUER POWER T-shirts, declared he was the only "Reagan Republican" in the group.
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.
What would convince politicians that honesty wins, weasel words don't; candor wins, evasive language doesn't; belief wins, pragmatism doesn't?
Dodging questions with weasel words and a dishonest "no plans" formula will not do.
Anything else is weasel words that leave the door open to asset sales.