Definitions

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Doublespeak

[duhb-uhl-speek]
Doublespeak (sometimes double talk) is language constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning, often resulting in a communication bypass. Doublespeak may take the form of bald euphemisms (e.g., "downsizing" for layoffs) or deliberate ambiguity. Doublespeak is a disparaging label for any euphemistic term perceived to be uttered in bad faith.

History

The term doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The term does not appear in that novel, although Orwell did coin newspeak, oldspeak, and doublethink, and his novel made fashionable composite nouns with speak as the second element, which were previously unknown in English. Doublespeak may be considered, in Orwell's lexicography, as the vocabulary of Newspeak, words "deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them." The term double talk (with a similar meaning) dates back to at least 1936.

See also

Notes

References

  • Lutz, William. (1987). Doublespeak: From "Revenue Enhancement" to "Terminal Living": How Government, Business, Advertisers, and Others Use Language to Deceive You. New York: Harper & Row.

External links

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