Word of the Day : March 10, 2019

newspeak

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noun, often capitalized NOO-speek

Definition

: propagandistic language marked by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings

Did You Know?

The term newspeak was coined by George Orwell in his 1949 anti-utopian novel 1984. In Orwell's fictional totalitarian state, Newspeak was a language favored by the minions of Big Brother and, in Orwell's words, "designed to diminish the range of thought." Newspeak was characterized by the elimination or alteration of certain words, the substitution of one word for another, the interchangeability of parts of speech, and the creation of words for political purposes. The word has caught on in general use to refer to confusing or deceptive bureaucratic jargon.


Examples

"Remember that in 1984, totalitarian newspeak is created not through elaborate sentences and jargon, but through cutting words out of the dictionary and simplifying grammar. Clear, transparent writing can be used for propaganda purposes as easily as can convoluted prose—and maybe even more easily." — Noah Berlatsky, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 July 2011

"He'd lost his birthplace after the Yalta agreement, when his native region was incorporated into the Soviet Union. Since his family was Polish, they decided to join thousands of other 'repatriates' and re-settle in the area in Poland that the communists' newspeak labeled 'the Recovered Territories.'" — Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough, American Scholar, Summer 2010



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete a word for political propaganda that is spread through literature, drama, music, or art: a _ _ t _ r _ p.

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