I have been using lists of English weasel words for quite some time now to check my language for clarity. Weasel words are words or phrases which make statements sound more meaningful or strong than they actually are.

Are there corresponding lists of weasel words for German?

Edit: Englisch examples for weasel words: "increasingly", "best", "hoped", "it is agreed", "likely", "need to", "complex", "full", "proven", "would", "should", "could", "often", "generally", "usually", "probably", "significant", "easily", "some", "most", "better", "worse", "soon", "many", "few", "faster", "slower", "higher", "lower", "very", "extremely", several, exceedingly, "many", "few", "vast", "tiny", "interestingly", "surprisingly", "remarkably", "clearly", "various", "a number of", "fairly", "quite", "completely", "relatively", "substantially", "improved", "just", "it was", "often", "for the most part", "rarely", "really", "in a sense", "in a way"

The motivation for the question is to get myself to write more clearly. Weasel words indicate lack of clarity. Therefore if weasel words are used it is best to revise the paragraph to check whether the concept was well understood. Since i am a German native, i would like to extend this clarity in writing to my own texts.

  • 2
    German Wikipedia has its own definition and policy on weasel words, including two example sections: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Vermeide_hohle_Phrasen Aug 5, 2014 at 9:14
  • @tarrasch I'd appreciate it if you could share your sources for English weasel words.
    – Matthias
    Aug 5, 2014 at 20:09
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    Please update your question to include concrete examples of the kind of weasel words you have in mind. The way it is stated, your question is rather [weasel word] broad. Also, in my experience [weasel phrase], weasel words are useful when giving your opinion on something and not wanting to sound harsh or categoric. So I'd be interested to know your motivation for avoiding weasel talk.
    – Lumi
    Aug 7, 2014 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


Beside the already mentioned Wikipedia article I found Wieselwort on WkiMANNia, which also contains a list of examples.

I can also recommend (particularly when you are interested in clear language) reading Deutsch für Profis by Wolf Schneider. He doesn't use the word "Wieselwort", but in the first 5 chapters he critizes deceptive use of German language by politicians, journalists and others in a way that you can learn something about German weasel words as well. Also, in ch. 31 he lists many suspicious words and phrases. I never heard "weasel word" until today, but I would say some entries in this list would qualify as weasel words.

  • thanks a lot. Although i am looking for a bigger list of words. My goal is to improve my german writing for clarity. If i can remove those words from my texts, my writing improves. Since i would like to automate this for myself, i need a huge list of them.
    – tarrasch
    Aug 14, 2014 at 16:33

I created a list of German weasel words I want to use for a text editor plugin.

Feel free to provide feedback/change requests.


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