Distancing language

Distancing language

Distancing language is phrasing used by a person to "distance" themselves from a statement, either to avoid thinking about the subject or to distance himself from its content. Distancing language is primarily a means of self-deception. In the context of a denial, distancing language may indicate a person is lying, first to oneself and secondly, to others.

Examples of distancing language

  • Distancing clinical language partly shields health workers from the impact of workplace experiences, e.g. "bled to death" substituted with "exsanguinated".
  • Military personnel may use a range of distancing terms for combatants either killing or getting killed. They may also employ distancing, dehumanizing terms for combatants on the opposing side.
  • Everyday euphemistic references to death, dying, burial, corpses and to the people and places which deal with death are also protective, distancing terms, i.e. "croaked", "bought the farm", "expired", "passed on".

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