Talk:Weasel word

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This Logic related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Omission by Pronoun[edit]

Omission by Pronoun was one of the terms the Graduate students at CU used for something similar. Unintentionally in most cases, student papers often came back with sentences like "They went there and then the Indians came and they attacked them". Okahhhh. I see this style at CP far too often, and the "great one" (ehem) makes this mistake far too often for anyone who claims to be a teacher much less a student of Jurisprudence. Freaky --WaitingforGodot 17:59, 10 July 2008 (EDT)

I've removed the following fairly bizarre "example":
"A professor punished a student with a lower grade for having done something politically incorrect outside of class." This creates the illusion that the student was given an undeserved grade for doing something liberals don't like, instead of rape.
It isn't made clear which part of that uses weasel words & I don't see that any of it does. It's just an example of somebody misunderstanding the term "weasel word" & using it to mean euphemism or exaggeration by omission. Also, if we use examples as specific as this, which I presume was based on a real event, we should cite where they're from. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:40, 15 February 2009 (EST)
Also removed:
"No one else has reproduced [Professor Richard] Lenski's findings." While failing to mention that the research in question concluded about a month before commenting and that it took 20 years to be done thus giving the illusion that the experiment was a fraud.
"No one else has" is a firm statement, not weasel words. The fact that the author omits some of the details does not turn it into weasel words. If the statement said "scarcely anybody else has" or "it is unlikely that anybody could", those would be weasel words. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:45, 15 February 2009 (EST)
You are a weasel, so that explains your knowledge of weaselly words. --"CURtalk 15:46, 15 February 2009 (EST)

Anyone going to set up WeaselWordWiki?

What about[edit]

... Meerkat words? (as Alexander Orlov would ask)

Simples. (talk) 17:41, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Do weasels beg, or don't they?[edit]

  • "Is President Obama really a radical Muslim socialist who hates America?"

That looks more like begging the question to me, although I can also see it as a weaselly insinuation of the assumed premise. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:14, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

This is years too late, but it's definitely not Begging the Question. Begging is just circular reasoning e.g.: "The bible is true because it's the word of God, and the Bible is shows us that God's word is true". This is an example of Just Asking Questions, which masks an unfounded assumption as a question. Weasel words are words that create a vague statement that implies further meaning. I'm torn as to whether Just Asking Questions counts as Weasel Words, because the questions usually obfuscate existing truth rather than asserting a new truth. Although I guess it can go either way? - MVHVTMV (talk) 13:39, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
You're right. However, regarding the distinction between JAQ and WWs: the point of the JAQ is that what looks like an innocent question is implicitly a statement phrased as a question. And statements are obviously still statements, whether they contain WWs or not. Thus; a JAQ phrasing could certainly contain WWs — just like any other statement could — but this is irrelevant to determining if said phrasing is JAQ or not. Hope this helps! Th hug.gif Reverend Black Percy (talk) 15:07, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

Is this intentionally ironic?[edit]

"It has been suggested that the phrase comes from an old folk-belief that weasels sucked the contents from birds' eggs to leave only an empty shell."

This line seems like a pretty obvious case of weasel words to me i.e. an uncited claim with the nebulous implication that "it has been suggested". If it's intentional then it can stay, but it should have a note, otherwise it just makes this page look silly. - MVHVTMV (talk) 08:43, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

It can be cited to the American Heritage Dictionary. But maybe we prefer to leave it unreferenced. (It can also be cited to Wikipedia at Weasel wordWikipedia, but Wikipedia's source is astonishingly weak: a 1918 personal recollection, reproduced in some newsletter now available only on[1]) Annquin (talk) 14:25, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

"Weasel words' is a weasel word?[edit]

This article is a justification for the use of a pejorative term for what writers and speakers are doing when they make possibly false claims that they do not themselves attempt to verify. The paradigm shows this directly:

"Some argue that the use of weasel words is both vague and deceitful — a view that is shared by most experts. A recent landmark study at a leading university has since confirmed these suspicions in the eyes of many. Critics claim that most people likely employ weasel words all the time, often without even realizing it, and questions have been raised as to the likelihood of this occurring even when writing an article on weasel words. Thankfully, experience has shown such concerns to be unfounded."

Paradoxically, the example is not accurate because the article itself implies "the use of weasel words is both vague and deceitful..." and is confirmation that some people do indeed make such a claim. The bottom line is "weasel words" is nothing more than a complaint that an unsubstantiated claim has been made. It has nothing to do with logical argument, but questions the soundness of argument. And yet the argument may well be sound, but only not well documented.Ariel31459 (talk) 16:57, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

Did you fail to notice the 'see what we did there?' attribution that points to 'irony'? That quote is an example of using weasel words. What exactly is pretentious about pointing out weasel words? FairDinkum (talk) 05:23, 16 December 2022 (UTC)

This is a stupid article[edit]

Consider " 'Most scholars today believe Jesus existed' actually contains at least five weasel words": The fact is that the so called weasel words are usually ordinary words used by weasels, or people we regard as weasels. There is nothing untoward in the use of any of them. This is a horrendous article wagging on about inexact word usage that is misleading, pretentious nonsense. Ariel31459 (talk) 03:38, 16 December 2022 (UTC)

No, the words are not ordinary words used by weasels, they are ordinary words that can be used as weasel words. I don't understand your complaint about this article, please be more specific. FairDinkum (talk) 05:25, 16 December 2022 (UTC)
Incidentally, the examples just added by user AAE are really good ones! And weasel words are such an insidious means of manipulating thought that the concept is especially germane to RW. FairDinkum (talk) 05:34, 16 December 2022 (UTC)