Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to weasel words: Weasel family
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer