Doublethink, doublespeak or double-talk

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Doublethink is the ability to accept two conflicting beliefs, opinions, or facts as valid and correct, simultaneously. This acceptance might be deliberate or unconscious, and is often a result of political indoctrination. Doublethink may happen because of someone being willfully perverse or as a result of faulty logic. Doublethink is a word coined by George Orwell for the novel 1984.

Doublespeak is the use of euphemistic or ambiguous language in order to disguise what one is actually saying. Some examples of doublespeak are the term “put to sleep” used in place of the word euthanize, and the phrase “ethnic cleansing” instead of the word genocide. Doublespeak was not coined by George Orwell, though his novel 1984 was most probably an influence. Doublespeak was first used in the 1950s, probably as a derivation of the term double-talk.

Double-talk means speech that is impossible to understand, usually a mixture of purposefully unintelligible words and random, nonsense syllables. Double-talk is used for humorous effect, usually to mimic a foreign language. However, the term double-talk make also be used to describe speech that is used to confuse people, somewhat similar to the meaning of doublespeak. Note that the proper spelling of double-talk is with a hyphen, though it may be spelled as two words as in double talk, or the two words may be melded together as in doubletalk. The word double-talk was first used in the 1930s.


Political doublethink and cruelty fuel refugee debacle (The Sydney Morning Herald)

After years of Orwellian doublethink on the subject—”we don’t have any studies proving it’s safe, but it’s too dangerous to study”—we might finally get that evidence. (The Portland Mercury)

“This doublespeak has only aggravated the sense of insecurity among other states,” she told the 35-member commission. (The Express Tribune)

India views Pakistan’s continued doublespeak on bilateral dialogue as a sign of civil-military dichotomy in the neighbouring country. (The Deccan Herald)

Have these same double-talking politicians turn their heads so you can hear them talk out the other side of their face. (The Marshfield News-Herald)

MetLife’s designation as too big to fail was doomed by regulatory double-talk. (Reuters)