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weasel word

a word used to temper the forthrightness of a statement; a word that makes one's views equivocal, misleading, or confusing.
Origin of weasel word
1895-1900, Americanism
Related forms
weasel-worded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for weasel-word
Historical Examples
  • There it was again, Merrick thought, the weasel-word 'compromise.'

    Turning Point Alfred Coppel
Idioms and Phrases with weasel-word

weasel word

A word used to deprive a statement of its force or evade a direct commitment, as in Calling it “organized spontaneity” is using a weasel word; “organized” has sucked the meaning out of “spontaneity.” This idiom may allude to the weasel's habit of sucking the contents out of a bird's egg, so that only the shell remains. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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