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

For example:

  • The runoff might contain a little lead, but I'm sure it's harmless.

  • Did the mine's manager really say the runoff's harmless? He knows it causes lead poisoning!

Note: When used as a euphemism for liquid waste that's toxic, meaning it poisons the environment, "runoff" is doublespeak. But when used to mean liquid waste that's harmless or has been properly treated, it isn't doublespeak.

Quick Quiz:

"Runoff" is doublespeak when it's used to describe

a. treated waste

b. toxic waste

c. harmless waste

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Contributor: Matt Errey