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What is the word to describe when language should be neutral such as in an encyclopedia entry of scientific text but instead the language is unnecessarily evocative. Is there a word that describes this?

For example use of the word "assasinated" when "murdered" or "shot" might be more appropriate.

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  • I may also have meant "unnecessarily emotive".
    – Mr Purple
    Feb 16, 2016 at 1:16

5 Answers 5

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Yes, I'd call what you are describing "lurid:"

lu·rid ˈlo͝orəd/ adjective (of a description) presented in vividly shocking or sensational terms.

Another option is "sensationalistic."

sensationalism [sen-sey-shuh-nl-iz-uh m] noun 1. subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions or to excite and please vulgar taste. 2. the use of or interest in this subject matter, language, or style:

"The cheap tabloids relied on sensationalism to increase their circulation."

Let me know if that helps.

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    Yes I was looking for sensationalistic. I couldn’t get a close enough start point for a thesaurus search. Thanks.
    – Mr Purple
    Feb 15, 2016 at 10:53
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    You got it buddy. Glad to help.
    – M. E.
    Feb 15, 2016 at 11:03
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editorial bias

Wikipedia:Neutral point of view (NPOV)

This page in a nutshell: Articles must not take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without editorial bias. This applies to both what you say and how you say it.

All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic.

without editorial bias and from a neutral point of view

In a single word, it's called being impartial.

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  • Hey @Mazura...though I know and love the term, I don't think it describes using 'assassinated' instead of 'murdered' or 'shot.' Assuming the person was indeed assassinated, all three are correct, so there is no bias in using one or the other. However, the first term, 'assassinated, is more lurid, more sensationalistic, than the others.
    – M. E.
    Feb 15, 2016 at 2:29
  • That's exactly what they're (Wiki's) talking about: assuming that they were assassinated. Until such time, the accused are innocent until proven guilty.
    – Mazura
    Feb 15, 2016 at 2:34
  • I believe you that that's what Wiki is talking about. But I don't think it's what the poster, @MrPurple, is talking about. Anything that appears in an encyclopedic entry of scientific text, as he referred to, would already have been verified. Your post is specifically related to reporting, but not to, as he referenced, an encyclopedic entry. There could, of course, still be editorial bias in an encyclopedia. But we would be assuming the editorial bias, whereas we could legitimately recognize (albeit still subjectively) the luridness or sensationalistic verbiage.
    – M. E.
    Feb 15, 2016 at 6:04
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Language that has “strong emotional implications and involve strongly positive or negative reactions beyond their literal meaning” can be called loaded:

In rhetoric, loaded language (also known as loaded terms or emotive language) is wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes.

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Consider full of imagery.

For example, Martin Luther King’s language was full of imagery. His words grabbed our attention by stimulating our imaginations and touching our hearts.

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Bombastic. I think that should do the job.

marked by or given to speech or writing that is given exaggerated importance by artificial or empty means. Synonyms: POMPOUS, OVERBLOWN (M-W).

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  • You should add a dictionary definition and explain why this is the best answer. Aug 28, 2022 at 23:50

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