dog-whistle

dog whistle

[dawg-hwis-uhl, -wis-, dog-]
noun
Politics. a political strategy, statement, slogan, etc., that conveys a controversial, secondary message understood only by those who support the message: His criticism of welfare was a dog whistle appealing to racist voters.

Origin:
1995–2000; < dog whistle a high-frequency whistle audible to dogs but not humans

dog-whistle, adjective
dog whistling, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dog-whistle
 
adj
1.  relating to the targeting of potentially controversial messages to specific voters while avoiding offending those voters with whom the message will not be popular: dog-whistle politics
 
vb
2.  (intr) to employ this kind of political strategy
 
[C21: from the fact that a dog whistle operates at frequencies that can be heard only by dogs]

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