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Meaning: deceptive language, or words and phrases that hide the truth

For example:

  • Why do state officials and military people use doublespeak so much?

  • They must be doing something wrong, or they wouldn't be using doublespeak to hide it, would they?

Note: For advanced learners: "Doublespeak" is deliberately deceptive language that's used in propaganda and misinformation to distort or hide the truth. The political, military and economic euphemisms found here are examples of doublespeak, as are dysphemisms like "illegal immigrant" when used to describe refugees and asylum seekers. Most doublespeak is invented and first used by state and military officials, and then repeatedly used, esp. in the media, until it becomes part of everyday language. Once it's part of everyday language, doublespeak can have a powerful effect on how we think about political, social and economic systems, wars, history, current events and issues, etc. As such, it functions as propaganda or misinformation embedded within a language, and can become extremely influential as a result.

Quick Quiz:

Who would you most expect to use doublespeak?

a. actors

b. criminals

c. politicians

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Contributor: Matt Errey