scare quote

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English[edit]

Air quotes are analogous to scare quotes in print.

Noun[edit]

scare quote (plural scare quotes)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) A quotation mark deliberately used to provoke a reaction or to indicate that the author does not approve of the term, rather than to identify a direct quotation.
    • 2001 Jan 1, “The Retreat From Inquiry and Knowledge in Special Education.”, Journal of Special Education: 
      One other important figure in postmodern thought is Richard Rorty, who might be characterized as master of the scare quote
    • 2004, P Timms, What's Wrong with Contemporary Art?:
      He is inordinately fond of the scare quote, a sign that he is not really sure of what he's talking about.
    • 2006 Sep 6, “Where Hairsplitting Can Become High Drama”, New York Sun:
      An incidental pleasure is his witty mastery of the scare quote and the square bracket.
    • 2008, D Jeske, “Friendship and the grounds of reasons”, papyrus.bib.umontreal.ca: 
      I put the relevant pronouns in scare quote because Bundy’s interviewers succeeded in getting Bundy to talk about his crimes only by allowing him to describe them in the third person

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