Word of the Day : October 22, 2010


noun JAW-boh-ning


: the use of public appeals (as by a president) to influence the actions especially of business and labor leaders; broadly : the use of spoken persuasion

Did You Know?

In the late 1800s, the noun "jawbone" meant "credit" (as in "his money's gone, so he lives on jawbone"), which was probably influenced by the practice of coaxing others to lend money by promising to pay it back. By the mid-1960s the verb "to jawbone," meaning "to talk about to gain some end," was appearing regularly in the media. The noun "jawboning" made its print debut at the end of that decade, in reference to rhetorical practices that influenced the actions of the wealthy and powerful. All of these uses were likely influenced by the verb "jaw," which has long been used with the meanings "to talk" or "to scold."

Test Your Memory: Our featured word on October 1 was "tittup." It means ...


The debate included a lot of jawboning as each candidate tried to persuade voters to see the issues his way.

"Here in America vast amounts of stimulus money and White House jawboning have done little to move the unemployment needle...." -- From an article by Michael Noer in Forbes, September 13, 2010


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