langue de bois

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French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Russian дубовый язык (dubovyj jazyk, coarse, heavy language, literally oaken language) via Polish [Term?]. Originally referring to the language of the tsarist bureaucracy, it was later used by the Solidarność movement in Poland and then picked up by the French media.

Noun[edit]

langue de bois f (plural langues de bois)

  1. wooden language, waffle (speech that is vague, pretentious or evasive)
    Synonym: xyloglossie
  2. cant (empty hypocritical talk)

Further reading[edit]