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Weasel Words

2007-06-10 00:32:00

Weasel Words
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, June 10, 2007

"I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity."
- Bill Watterson, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat page 62 has become my conscious, my mentor, and what keeps me from straying from the truth, it has become my Philosophy, it is writing the rules of logic of modern man.

Philosophy as told to me is a clear and sustained effort to think clearly.

(I was a Philosophy Major in University and still to this day feel weak when someone asks, what is that?)

The new age:

To chunk down, extract, derives, argue, create rules, arbitrated the process of reasoning and logic, and requires critical reasoning. Congratulations, the string logic being used, the threads leading to the truth are a clear and sustained effort to think clearly.

Weasel Words


A weasel word is a word that is intended to, or has the effect of, softening the force of a potentially loaded or otherwise controversial statement. This phrase appears in Stewart Chaplin's short story Stained Glass Political Platform published in 1900 in The Century Magazine according to The Macmillan Dictionary of Contemporary Phrase and Fable : "Why, weasel words are words that suck the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks the egg and leaves the shell." Thus, weasel words suck the meaning out of a statement while seeming to keep the idea intact, and are particularly associated with political pronouncements. Weasel words are used euphemistically. The term invokes the image of a weasel being sneaky and well able to wiggle out of a tight spot. Weasel words work, ad nauseum, as in commercial lingo to glide over an uncomfortable fact (therefore "headcount reduction"" replaces "firing staff")[1]], or to create a sense of grandeur and inflated importance (and so "transitory staffing solution provider" substitutes for "temp agency"). Too many more examples of the widespread and indiscriminate usages of corporate jargon, inflicted scatter-shot on the unwary consumer, could be easily provided. Generally, weasel terms are statements that are misleading because they lack the normal substantiations of their truthfulness, as well as the background information against which these statements are made. Weasel terms are the equivalent of spin in the political sphere in British English.

Carl Wrighter identified weasel words in his book I Can Sell You Anything (1972). Earlier in his Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956), U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt described astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek's report on the death of Air Force Pilot Thomas Mantell in pursuit of a UFO as "a masterpiece in the art of 'weasel wording'."[2]

Weasel words are almost always intended to deceive or draw attention from something the speaker doesn't want emphasized, rather than being the inadvertent result of the speaker's or writer's poor but honest attempt at description.

Australian author Don Watson has collected two volumes (Death Sentence and Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words) documenting the increasing use of weasel words in government and corporate language. He maintains a website [3] encouraging people to identify and nominate examples of weasely language, which gives many examples of dissimulation through excessive verbosity. Watson was previously a speech writer for Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Stop Quote

I am often sad and confused when the force of my words misleads and guides a person on a path of absolutes. These are opinions I write, nothing more, and strive to separate by story the wheat from the chaff. However when a reader grabs a word or phrase and runs helter skelter into the world, fighting for or against, I sometimes wish I had never typed into the computer. There is little known, and what is known most certainly will be debated, and clarified by rules of logic now being set forth by organizations such as with the humility and steadfast diligence to edit and correct that which was thought to be known yesterday, so tomorrow is closer…

I am in Lome, Togo West Africa and I can see the knowledge of the world is closer... I am not so far away, I am almost home.

Weasel Words