Distancing language  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Distancing language is phrasing used by people to "distance" themselves from a statement, either to avoid thinking about the subject or to distance themselves from its content. Distancing language is often a means of self-deception, but distancing language used orally may indicate that a person is lying.

Examples of distancing language

  • Distancing clinical language partly shields health workers from the impact of workplace experiences, e.g. "bled to death" substituted with "exsanguinated".
  • Military personnel may use a range of distancing terms for combatants either killing or getting killed. They may also employ distancing, dehumanizing terms for combatants on the opposing side. "Collateral damage" for the death of uninvolved civilians is an example.
  • Everyday euphemistic references to death, dying, burial, corpses and to the people and places which deal with death are also protective, distancing terms either formal or informal, e.g. "croaked", "bought the farm", "expired", "passed on".
  • An indirect statement implying an answer, rather than a direct answer, may indicate lying. For example, replies such as "would I do such a thing?" or even "I wouldn't do such a thing", rather than "I didn't do it". Referring to someone known well by the speaker as "that woman" instead of using a name or "her" is another example[1].

More examples

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Distancing language" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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