Words that appear at first glance to mean one thing but actually hide (or even reverse) their true meaning are known as doublespeak. When a company "downsizes," that actually means a lot of people are losing their jobs.

Instead of a blunt, straightforward word or phrase, doublespeak uses euphemisms and ambiguity to disguise or soften a message. Military leaders might refer to "servicing the target" when they mean dropping bombs, and a used car salesman most likely prefers describing older vehicles as "pre-owned." The word doublespeak comes from the George Orwell novel 1984 and is a cross between Orwell's terms doublethink and Newspeak.

Definitions of doublespeak
  1. noun
    any language that pretends to communicate but actually does not
    see moresee less
    type of:
    equivocation, evasion
    a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘doublespeak'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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