weasel word


Definition of weasel word

: a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Some people believe that weasels can suck the insides out of an egg without damaging the shell. An egg thus weasel-treated would look fine on the outside, but it would actually be empty and useless. We don't know if weasels can really do that, but the belief that they could caused people to start using "weasel word" to refer to any term intended to give the impression that everything is fine when the speaker is really trying to avoid answering a question, telling the truth, or taking the blame for something.

Examples of weasel word in a Sentence

“Reorganization” is just a weasel word that the company is using to say that jobs are being eliminated.

First Known Use of weasel word

1900, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for weasel word

from the weasel's reputed habit of sucking the contents out of an egg while leaving the shell superficially intact

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about weasel word

Time Traveler for weasel word

Time Traveler

The first known use of weasel word was in 1900

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about weasel word

Statistics for weasel word

Cite this Entry

“Weasel word.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weasel%20words. Accessed 13 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for weasel word

weasel word


English Language Learners Definition of weasel word

informal + disapproving : a word used in order to avoid being clear or direct

More from Merriam-Webster on weasel word

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with weasel word

Comments on weasel word

What made you want to look up weasel word? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!