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Weasel Words

Don Watson, a former speech writer for Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, has a book coming out: Death Sentences: How Cliches, Weasel Words and Management-Speak are Strangling Public Language. Don Watson’s book and Web site mercilessly ridicule incomprehensible business chatter to great effect.

Readers have sent in unintentionally hilarious passages from company manuals and speeches. Even job listings are fair game. The examples will have you nodding your head and chuckling. There is even a hilarious confession from a self-proclaimed weaselwordholic who is “starting to rebuild his life.” Mr. Watson’s Web site has allowed me to express my seething hatred of those who overuse the word “leverage.” People are leveraging everything from dollars to doughnuts to actual human beings.

I am now publicly announcing my campaign to severely restrict its use. Who’s with me?