The Rephrasebook

Common Phrases Rephrased

Many phrases in common use are unnecessarily misleading, and in some cases this seems intentionally so. Some phrases are also factually wrong, whether that’s intentional or not.

Phrases Better Rephrased / Explained
Copy protection Copy prevention
Combination lock Permutation lock
Revenue forecast Income extrapolation, income guess
Cost savings Lower expense
Convenience fee Extra charge
Statistically significant Statistically-salient possible effect/difference
Linearly correlated Aligned
Underdeveloped country Poor country
Differently abled Disabled, handicapped, crippled
Full figured Fat, obese
Physically challenged Disabled, handicapped, crippled
Accounts receivable Still-unpaid customer bills
Letting employees go Firing employees
Exotic dancer Strip-dancer, stripper
Customer service Customer-complaint area, money-back area
Safe space Censorship area
Unmediated discourse Talking face-to-face
Reproductive rights Legalized abortion
Academic consensus Politically-acceptable opinion (in academic committees)
Scientific consensus Politically-acceptable opinion (in scientific committees)
Creation science Bible/Qu’ran-inspired pseudo-science
Singularity movement Techno-religion for terrified/delusional materialists
Academic department University-affiliated grant-appropriation institution
Community college Finishing school for high-schoolers
Primary/secondary school Low-security detention/indoctrination center for minors
Human rights Pro political-capital legal conventions
Political activist Political goon, propaganda mouthpiece
News/media organization Serious-looking propaganda establishment
Independent media Niche-targeting propaganda establishment
People’s republic Oppressive dictatorship
Democratic republic Kleptocracy
Social justice Fighting covert discrimination with overt discrimination
Foreign aid Diplomatically-administered bribe
Press release Self-serving version of events
Industry standard Industry copycat, mediocre in its category
Political correctness Thought control
Otherwise intelligent Stupid

Weasel Words Reworded

Some words are often used as deceiving euphemisms – again, the deception may or may not be intentional – even though these same words can have more legitimate uses in different contexts.

Such “weasel” words are sometimes used as an attempt to impress others, since making fancy sounds must mean you’re a deep thinker... oh, I mean... a profound ideator, with an appetite for uncomplicated paradigm shifts to proactively facilitate the organic resolution of concerns regarding interpersonal issues while helping develop empowering, amicable, and inclusive outcomes in order to equitably leverage our assets so as to enhance shareholder value and challenge us to fulfill our genuine commitment to diversity and sustainability in light of social and ecological justice as well as human rights, both within our local community and our planet.

Either way, the table below shows some of these common words when used in their weasel forms, and translates them using a bit of snark and the occasional touch of cynicism. For some entries, it also shows which specific contexts turn those words into weasels.

Words Contexts Reworded / Translated
Concern Worry
Amicable diplomacy, politics Friendly, agreeable
Challenge Problem
Comprehend Understand
Facilitate Help
Uncomplicated marketing Simple
Appetite finance, diplomacy Greed, risk-tolerance
Departed obituary Dead
Issue Topic, problem
Neutralized military Killed, destroyed
Pacified military Killed, destroyed
Democratic activism, politics It imposes my own ideas/interests on others
Preowned marketing Used, deteriorated
Profound Deep
Leverage business Use, exploit
Develop Make, find
Purchase Buy
Inexpensive Cheap
Subprime business, finance Low-quality
Proactive business, marketing Giving the appearance of agency
Deceased Dead
Underneath Below
Empowering marketing, politics Giving the appearance of freedom
Utilize Use
Organic art, design Seemingly natural, spontaneous-looking
Privileged society Lucky, well-connected, overly-influential
Underprivileged society Poor, born unlucky
Priceless art Offensive to try to appraise monetarily
Diverse business, marketing Prominently featuring non-Caucasians
Worldwide business, travel In at least a few major westernized cities
Overweight health Fat
Natural Giving the appearance of health/safety
Inclusive marketing, politics Targeting more demographic niches
Exclusive marketing Giving the impression of high status
Genuine Honest
Sustainable marketing We want you to think we care about nature
Paradigm business, marketing I hope others will think I’m intelligent
Inappropriate Embarrassing, rude, too revealing, too honest
Innovative business, society Early still-remembered example of its kind
Forecast Guess, projection
Racist activism, politics Know your place whitey
Anti-racist activism, politics Racist hypocrite
Nigger insult Know your place darkie
Nigger greeting Buddy, friend
Environmentalist activism, politics Ignorant techno-conservative
Intellectual Pretentious snob
Pro-life activism, politics Anti-abortion
Pro-choice activism, politics Pro-abortion
University Branch of the educational/human-resources complex
Culture art, society Snob code
Feminist activism, politics Pro-female biological denialist, female supermacist
Anti-feminist activism, politics Women-hating bigot
Anti-imperialist activism, politics Against US foreign policy, biased multipolarist
Anti-fascist activism, politics Pro-violence anarchist/socialist
Anti-socialist activism, politics Pro-violence reactionary
Socialist activism, politics Pro state-monopoly, pro forced-sharing
Aid diplomacy, politics Help, bribe
Welfare government, politics Rich-to-poor money-transfer
Taxes government Government-administered wealth-confiscation
Hero activism, military Disposable useful idiot, murderer
Lobbying government, politics Legalized corruption