weasel word (plural weasel words)
- (pejorative) A word used to qualify a statement so as to make it potentially misleading.
- Synonyms: hedge
- Hypernyms: qualifier
- 1900. Century Magazine, quoted in Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (New York: Facts on File Publications, 1987)).
- Weasel words are words that suck all of the life out of the words next to them just as a weasel sucks an egg and leaves the shell.
- May 31 1916, Theodore Roosevelt, speech delivered in St. Louis, MO:
- Now, 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.
- German: schwammiger Begriff
weasel word (weasel words, present participle weasel wording; past and past participle weasel worded)
- To use weasel words.