Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.


weasel word

July 16th, 2015

Episode 258 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 16, 2015 is: weasel word \WEE-zul-WERD\ noun : a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position Examples: Many people suspected that the politician's weasel words concealed a deeper agenda. "Lesson: When your team messes up, take responsibility, fully and openly. No exculpatory clauses or weasel words." Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe, March 4, 2015 Did you know? Some people believe that weasels can suck the insides out of an egg without damaging the shell, so that an egg thus weasel-treated would look fine on the outside but would actually be empty and useless. It was this supposed behavior on the part of the weasel that led people to start using weasel word to refer to any term intended to give the impression that everything is fine when the speaker is really trying to avoid answering a question, telling the truth, or taking the blame for something.

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