What is a 'weasel word'?
Never trust a weasel word. This is sensible advice, given that the phrase comes from an untrustworthy, singular-looking creature. Coined by a lawyer, Stewart Chaplin, it is used to describe 'words that suck all the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks an egg and leaves the shell'.
This app contains all sorts of words that could be described as weasel-esque. Some were born weasely, while others had weaselyness thrust upon them, clumsily stitched together from vogueish buzz-terms. It can seem like they're everywhere.
Such bubbling paranoia necessitates an app which confronts hollow business jargon such as 'granularity' and 'cloud computing', reality-denying military terms such as 'friendly fire' and 'surgical strike', property-improving descriptors such as 'compact' and 'bijou'. This app also challenges a pic'n'mix selection of words employed in prose in an attempt to make the writer appear clever, such as 'quixotic' and 'veritable', although they frequently sound awkward when voiced aloud in everyday speech. So, a veritable treasure trove awaits!
Chambers 200 Words You Shouldn’t Trust includes:
▸A selection of 200 weasel words, you just can’t trust them!
▸ Word definitions with correct usage
▸ A description of the other weasel-esque usage of the word
▸ Roots of a word to shed light on the fundamental meaning
▸Illustrative quotations drawn from books, newspapers, magazines and websites
▸ An exhaustive quiz to help you become a master weasel word hunter
▸ Functions to save to favourites and share words with friends on Facebook
▸ A carousel to serendipitously discover words
▸ Refreshing graphic design, a far cry from boring dictionary apps
▸Intuitive user interface that's practical and effective
How best to use this app
There are several ways to study the words in this app.
If you like to simply browse words that interest you, you can click on a word from the main screen.
If this is a word you'd like to study or refer to in the future, you can mark it as a favourite.
If you prefer to go through the words more systematically, you can choose a word from the index and work your way through alphabetically, flicking from one word to the next.
You can also search words by using the alphabetical scroll bar at the bottom of the screen.
Once you've gone through the words you feel you need to study, try taking the quiz. The quiz challenges you with a completely random set of questions each time you take it, so you should be able to test yourself several times.
Keep going back to your favourites to review their meanings and the potential pitfalls of using each word.
Keep a mental note of the weasel words you encounter each day. You’ll find soon find they cease to bamboozle you!