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"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."

Pretending that a word means whatever you want it to mean. This isn't just trying to help a language evolve. It's outright acting like a word's definition only should be what you want it to be.

Say you're trying to convince people on a message board that a politician you don't like is a fascist (this could apply to just about any major political party). They aren't buying it. Well, the dictionary is irrefutable, so you look up fascism.

Damn it! This politician's views don't fit the definition of fascism at all!

Wait ... That's just their definition of fascism, not yours. Of course people think the label of fascism is bad, and not the actual definition, so you just make the label apply, and you magically make everyone believe you.

Ways to do this are:

  1. Stretch the definition to make it apply.
  2. Use loose connections or associations.
  3. Selectively use just one part or application of the definition, so that it's just people you want to fit the definition, not anyone you don't want to, when they fit the actual definition better.
  4. Just make something up.

Compare Newspeak, Implausible Deniability, Chewbacca Defense and No True Scotsman, From a Certain Point of View. Not to be confused with Neologism which is making up words to add to current dictionaries.


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