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Doublespeak Examples

This is a list of about fifty doublespeak examples. For each doublespeak you'll find a definition, example sentences, notes and a quick quiz question.

administrative detention

imprisonment without charge or a trial

austerity

cuts in government spending on public programs and services

black operation American English

a secret government or military operation

collateral damage

deaths and injuries of innocent people in military operations

comfort women

women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War Two

contribution

a political donation or "bribe"

correctional facility

a prison or jail

creative accounting

accounting methods used by unethical companies to cheat the tax department, shareholders, employees, etc.

detainee

a person imprisoned without charge or a trial

detention centre

any place in which people are imprisoned without charge or a trial

disappear

to murder a political or human rights activist

doublespeak

deceptive language, or words and phrases that hide the truth

downsize

to reduce staff numbers by firing people

economical with the truth

to be telling a lie

engage

to attack or fight enemy forces

extraordinary rendition American English

illegal abduction, transport, imprisonment and torture of suspects in secret locations

family values

religious beliefs that cause prejudice against gay people, single mothers, unmarried couples, divorced people, etc.

forced labour

modern-day slavery

friendly fire

bullets or bombs from one's own side that kill or injure one's own people

honour killing

the murder of one family member by another after a social taboo has been broken

human trafficking

the slave trade

incarcerated

imprisoned

incident

terrorist attack, bombing, mass murder, suicide, etc.

job seeker

a person who can't find work

lost

killed while fighting in a war

made redundant British and Australian English

to be fired from your job

misconduct

a euphemism for crimes committed by professionals, business people, corrupt officials, the police and the military

neutralize

to kill a person

occupied

invaded and controlled by enemy forces

pacify

to violently suppress protesters or rioters

pre-emptive attack

a surprise attack before declaring war or invading a country

re-educate

to force someone to change their beliefs or political views

redundancies British and Australian English

job losses

regime change

forced change of government after a foreign military invasion

runoff

liquid waste from a factory, mine, farm, etc.

settlement

a town built on land taken by force or occupied by invaders

settlers

people who build homes and towns on other people's land

surgical strike

a bomb or missile attack that's supposed to accurately strike its target

terminate American English

to fire somebody from their job

terminate with extreme prejudice

to murder, assassinate or execute a person on the orders of a government official

undocumented alien

a foreigner without a visa or work permit

untruth

a lie

unusual wealth

money from corruption

wetwork

murders ordered by a government agency