Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Language characteristic of official documents or statements, especially when obscure, pretentiously wordy, or excessively formal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the formal and often obscure style of writing characteristic of some government officials; bureaucratese; -- it is characterized by euphemisms, circumlocutions, vague abstractions, and circumlocutions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the style of writing characteristic of some government officials: formal and obscure

Etymologies

From official +‎ -ese. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Very interesting, it does sort of take your breath away reading the 'officialese', even translated to English … In fairness, Goldarrow couldn't really expect to get paid in full after the scrap prices crashed-I'm sure that just wasn't going to happen.

    Danwei - Media, Advertising, and Urban Life in China

  • Politicians and civil servants should steer clear of using "officialese" or risk being mocked by the public and media, a parliamentary committee has suggested.

    The Latest From www.politics.co.uk

  • In Gowers's revision of Fowlers MEU, there's an article on "officialese," in which Gowers distinguishes between the sort of language to be used in drafting a statute or regulation and the language used to explain things to an inquiring citizen.

    Language Log

  • I talk to several kids, to a sociologist, and to the local human rights commissioner, a bland middle-aged man who speaks about the incident in impenetrable officialese.

    Down and Delirious in Mexico City

  • The letter, signed by the principal, bombarded us with officialese, a new language we were learning the hard way.

    Knowing Jesse

  • Moreover, whatever its technical status in the eyes of the GMC it was presented as a formal complaint, giving the full names of the doctors and their registered medical practitioner numbers and phrased in officialese.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • I've googled my little heart out and can't find reference to the officialese.

    ATM--Any way to avoid getting gigged?

  • The officialese used in the new order was pouty: DO 17-09, it said, was “hereby suspended pending resolution of the issues raised.”

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • "But it does serve a useful purpose in getting to know each other's perceptions and positions a little better, free from the scaffolding of officialese."

    A Different Take on the U.S.-India Climate Change "Spat"

  • It appears that no such request was made and the media either misunderstand Washington officialese or the White House was speaking with a forked tongue.

    Archive 2008-07-01

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.