The term is first recorded in 1884 and was used by Sir Ernest Gowers (1965) as the heading of an article that explored the ‘style of writing marked by peculiarities supposed to be characteristic of officials’, i.e. pompous and opaque bureaucratic language. (Fowler had no entry on this topic in 1926.) An example given by Gowers concerned Anglo-American talks on the development of folding-wing aircraft, and was taken from a London evening newspaper: The object of this visit is a pooling of knowledge to explore further the possibility of a joint research effort to discover the practicability of making use of this principle to meet a possible future NATO requirement, and should be viewed in the general context of interdependence. Gowers distinguished this kind of language, characterized by verbosity and circumlocution, from legalese, which though sometimes equally difficult to understand is characterized by concision and is dictated by the need to ensure that what is said will stand up to challenge and scrutiny in courts of law. See further at legalese; Plain English

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • officialese — 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. [WordNet 1.5 +PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • officialese — (n.) language of officialdom, 1881, from OFFICIAL (Cf. official) + ESE (Cf. ese) …   Etymology dictionary

  • officialese — ► NOUN ▪ formal and wordy language considered to be characteristic of official documents …   English terms dictionary

  • officialese — [ə fish΄əl ēz′] n. [see ESE] the pompous, wordy, and involved language typical of official communications and reports …   English World dictionary

  • officialese — noun Date: 1884 the characteristic language of official statements ; wordy, pompous, or obscure language …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • officialese — /euh fish euh leez , lees /, n. a style of language used in some official statements, often criticized for its use of polysyllabic jargon and obscure, pretentiously wordy phrasing. [1880 85; OFFICIAL + ESE] * * * …   Universalium

  • officialese — noun The typical language of official documents, legalistic and pompous. Syn: bureaucratese …   Wiktionary

  • officialese — Synonyms and related words: Varietyese, Wall Streetese, Washingtonese, bunkum, business English, businessese, cinemese, collegese, commercialism, computerese, economese, federalese, gobbledygook, journalese, legalese, medical Greek, medicalese,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • officialese — (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) n. doublespeak, *gobblydegook, *federalese, jargon, *bloated English, *gassy prose, *verbosity, *mush, *tapioca, *departmental murk …   English dictionary for students

  • officialese — of|fi|cial|ese [əˌfıʃəlˈi:z] n [U] informal a way of talking or writing used by government officials, that is unnecessarily difficult to understand …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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