Loaded language

rhetoric used to influence an audience

In rhetoric, loaded language (also known as loaded terms or emotive language) is wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes. Such wording is also known as high-inference language or language persuasive techniques. Loaded words and phrases have strong emotional implications and involve strongly positive or negative reactions beyond their literal meaning.



Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

  • And, while it is unlikely anyone is really taken in by such doublespeak --- public opinion is not as easily manipulated as George Orwell's Newspeak would suggest –- research carried out by people like Elizabeth Loftus shows that loaded language does work to influence memory and perception.
    • Keith Allan, Kate Burridge (2006). Forbidden Words: Taboo and the Censoring of Language. Cambridge University Press. p. 235. ISBN 1139457608. 
  • We live in a politically polarized environment. In an ideological war one side or another will try to use language as a weapon. If you’re writing a report, one of the things reporters are taught to avoid is loaded language.
  • Loaded words appeal to emotion rather than to reason. A copywriter using loaded language might describe a company as carrying on the tradition of free enterprise while claiming that a competitor is price gouging. A politician might call himself a progressive while calling an opponent a do-gooder.
    • Edward A. Dornan, Charles W. Dawe (1996). The Brief English Handbook. HarperCollins College Publishers. p. 246. ISBN 0673524884. 
  • Loaded language provides many possibilities for obstacles to clear thinking.
    • Austin Freeley, David Steinberg (2013). Argumentation and Debate. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. p. 93. ISBN 1285545850. 
  • Loaded language about hate risks alienating the very audience that needs to be engaged with.
  • It tends to be a feature of warlike situations that opponents' actions are viewed in the blackest possible light, with morally-loaded language reflecting that interpretation, while one's own, or one's allies' actions are treated in the most favourable light.
    • Randall Marlin (2002). Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion. Broadview Press. p. 100. ISBN 1551113767. 
  • The politically and emotionally loaded language Russian media has used to describe the new authorities in Kyiv, dubbing them 'fascists' and 'anti-Semites,' is also reminiscent of Serbia's characterization of its opponents. Croats were characterized as 'ustashi' and Bosniaks, or Bosnian muslims, as 'mujahedin.' This is how wars begin. This is how societies are mobilized to hate. Ordinary citizens are subjected to fear and propaganda eventually eroding the trust in other ethnic groups, other nationalities.
  • The loaded language proceeds according to the Orwellian recipe of the identity of opposites: in the mouth of the enemy, peace means war, and defense is attack, while on the righteous side, escalation is restraint, and saturation bombing prepares for peace. Organized in this discriminatory fashion, language designates a priori the enemy as evil in his entirety and in all his actions and intentions.
    • John Durham Peters, Peter Simonson (2004). Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts, 1919-1968. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 490. ISBN 0742528391. 
  • It is so easy for human thinking to become distorted that it makes sense to examine how we can keep our own thinking straight and thus avoid calamity. Importantly, we need to be on guard against the trickery of men. Make no mistake, you will encounter deceitful people who pretend to present the truth but actually distort it. To attain their objectives such people may resort to a selective use of evidence, emotionally loaded language, misleading half-truths, devious innuendo, and even outright lies.|
  • To appeal to reason, you use facts, statistics, expert opinions, and examples that support your position. To appeal to emotion, you use emotionally-loaded language — language that elicits a strong positive or negative response.
    • Steck-Vaughn Company (1999). HSPA Success in Language Arts Literacy: Level K. Rigby Education. p. 42. ISBN 0739810693. 
  • Politically loaded language is inappropriate for news headlines regardless of substantive content.
  • What is shown is that typical ethical argumentation in everyday discourse is saturated with emotionally loaded language, and is highly persuasive in nature. Some insights derived from the emotivist view can be extremely useful in explaining how ethical argumentation works. Ethical arguments arise out of conflicts of values in which there is a pro-attitude viewpoint on both sides. Both sides use emotionally loaded language of a kind that supports one's viewpoint and that expresses opposition to the viewpoint of the other side.
    • Douglas N. Walton (2003). Ethical Argumentation. Lexington Books. p. 18. ISBN 0739103490. 

See also

Wikipedia has an article about: