I wanted to use a one-word expression for a written communication (short or long) which is a response to a question. It is deliberately worded to evade answering the question, using very distinctively official language. In short, it leaves the reader confused whether the question was answered at all. If yes, then what actually was the answer.

My sentence would be something like:

"He has mastered the art of ..... "


"He has mastered the art of using ....."

  • Have you considered "hedging"?
    – vickyace
    Aug 16, 2018 at 5:35
  • 1
    ... Trying to figure out if I should upvote answers, or exceptionally crafted non-answers. You could say Orwelian language, which is itself doublespeak since he invented several different and contradictory ones.
    – Phil Sweet
    Aug 16, 2018 at 20:46
  • Does the answer have to be “safe for work”? Have you considered “bullshit”? Aug 21, 2018 at 23:08

4 Answers 4


Obfuscation or obfuscate:

1 b : to make obscure - obfuscate the issue - officials who … continue to obscure and obfuscate what happened — Mary Carroll

These other threads might have something relevant:


I'm not sure I've understood completely, but assuming a bureaucracy is official, then maybe:

a style of language held to be characteristic of bureaucrats and marked by abstractions, jargon, euphemisms, and circumlocutions.

"Circumlocutions" here doesn't have a positive note, though I'm not sure if it's implying evasiveness.

"He has mastered the art of bureaucratese," --- "and easily managed to avoid giving a forthright response."

By the way "offialese" is also a word.

Language characteristic of official documents or statements, especially when obscure, pretentiously wordy, or excessively formal.


School officials are fond of edubabble. I’d find you some examples, but it’s too depressing to look for them.

However if you google “achievement gap” you will likely find the Wikipedia article, where

home and community environments have a stronger impact on school achievement than in-school factors, in part, because students spend more time outside of school than in school. In addition, the out-of-school factors influencing academic performance differ significantly between children living in poverty and children from middle-income households.

Expressed more simply: if your parents are poor and you live in a poor neighborhood, you are less likely to do well at school.

Edubabble is characterized by a deep reluctance to speak plainly. A poor person might reasonably ask how his or her lot might be improved, but with all these complicating factors and ten-dollar words, people lose focus and action gets deflected.


As long ago as the mid-nineteenth century, the English author Trollope placed some of his characters as officials in the Circumlocution Office. As others have pointed out, officialese and bureaucratese are recognised English words. If you find those words distasteful and ugly, as I do, then "circumlocution" would surely work.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.