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Terminological inexactitude

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Title: Terminological inexactitude  
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Subject: Winston Churchill, While England Slept, Lord Randolph Churchill (book), Unparliamentary language, Combined Munitions Assignments Board
Collection: Deception, English Phrases, Euphemisms, Winston Churchill
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Terminological inexactitude

Terminological inexactitude is a phrase introduced in 1906 by British politician (later Prime Minister) Winston Churchill. Today, it is used as a euphemism or circumlocution meaning a lie or untruth.

Churchill first used the phrase during the 1906 election. After the election in the House of Commons on 22 February 1906, as Under-Secretary of the Colonial Office, he repeated what he had said during the campaign:

The conditions of the Transvaal ordinance ... cannot in the opinion of His Majesty's Government be classified as slavery; at least, that word in its full sense could not be applied without a risk of terminological inexactitude.[1]

It seems this first usage was strictly literal, merely a roundabout way of referring to inexact or inaccurate terminology. But it was soon interpreted or taken up as a euphemism for an outright lie. To accuse another member in the House of lying is unparliamentary, so a way of implying that without saying it was very useful.

See also

References

  1. ^ , Volume 17The Outlook retrieved 28 January 2012

External links

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