I'm looking for a word to describe the attempt at controlling language to prevent a minority party from using words that describe or normalize their experience.

Such an example would be an attempt to classify "cisgender" as a slur. Or "woke" as "A bad thing".

Another example could be newspeak in 1984 where the entire language is controlled to prevent discussion that could negatively impact the government.

The word I'm looking for is when a member of group in power, or majority group, is attempting to take words away from a minority in an attempt to further restrict the minority group. This could either be by reclassifying it as a slur "Anyone who would use such a slur is beneath consideration" or by slandering the word itself as standing for something unconscionable.

"Calling the word 'cisgender' a slur is an attempt at _______."

I'm not looking for "reclassification" as that is neutral in terms of effect. I'm looking for a word that describes subjugation through reclassification.

  • (A preemptive reminder to commenters: ELU is not a forum for political debates.)
    – alphabet
    Jul 3, 2023 at 18:06
  • 1
    'Newspeak' is now in the lexicon. Jul 3, 2023 at 18:10
  • Sounds like propaganda: I'm right 'cause I say so firmly. Jul 3, 2023 at 19:53
  • More looking led me to semantic change, I guess "Calling the word 'cisgender' a slur is an attempt at affecting semantic change" could work. I'm not sure if there are subsets of semantic change that include an intent behind the change.
    – Vivian
    Jul 10, 2023 at 18:28

3 Answers 3


Calling the word 'cisgender' a slur is an attempt at perversion.

Cambridge Dictionary has

the changing of something so that it is not what it was or should be

His testimony was clearly a perversion of the truth.


The current buzzword is compelled speech.

That includes being forbidden to use certain terms, as well as being obliged to use other words (and in many cases, to give the impression you believe / accept something that you actually don't).

Newspeak in Orwell's 1984 was a prescient early example of what we see all around the world today (Canada is just one of the more extreme cases publicized by Jordan Peterson).

Compelled speech occurs when the government forces you to articulate, advocate, promote, communicate, or otherwise express messages or beliefs you do not want to.


The Greeks (the modern ones) might just have a word for it.

Logokrisia (λογοκρισία)

The Greek word itself is the word for censorship. Literally, it means standing in judgement (krisia - κρισία) of word (λογος), which refers either literally to a word, or, more broadly to what you say (in speech or writing). I seems to me that, since the Latinate English 'Censorship' is already covered by the Latin 'censorship', the Anglicised 'logocrisy' (sc. hypocrisy) would do very well, if someone famous enough for it to catch on were to drop it in to a widely read article or book.

If so, it would be double-edged neologism, and could easily become victim to its own meaning by catching on first with one side or the other side of contemporary cultural and gender logopolemics.

  • 1
    ELU covers established English usages, not inventions with no currency or foreign words. Jul 3, 2023 at 18:30
  • The point is well taken, as you see from my admission to the commission of a neologism. I just cannot see what else is to be done with a significant phenomenon without a word.
    – Tuffy
    Jul 5, 2023 at 16:11

Your Answer

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

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