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Weasel words are words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated. A common form of weasel wording is through vague attribution, where a statement is dressed with authority, yet has no substantial basis. Phrases such as those above present the appearance of support for statements but can deny the reader the opportunity to assess the source of the viewpoint. They may disguise a biased view. Claims about what people say, think, feel, or believe, and what has been shown, demonstrated, or proved should be clearly attributed.

Examples of Weasel Words

The following can be examples of weasel words:

  • some people say
  • it is believed/regarded
  • many are of the opinion
  • most feel
  • it is widely thought
  • it is often said
Note Note: These are not automatically weasel words.

They may also be used in the lead section of an article or in a topic sentence of a paragraph, and the article body or the rest of the paragraph can supply attribution. Likewise, views that are properly attributed to a reliable source may use similar expressions, if they accurately represent the opinions of the source.

What to Do

Articles including weasel words should ideally be rewritten such that they are supported by reliable sources; alternatively, they may be tagged with the {{who}} template to identify the problem to future readers (who may elect to fix the problem).

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