Code word (figure of speech)

For other uses, see code word (disambiguation).

A code word is a word or a phrase designed to convey a predetermined meaning to a receptive audience, while remaining inconspicuous to the uninitiated. For example, a public address system may be used to make an announcement asking for "Mr Sands" to attend a particular area, which staff will recognise as a code word for fire, and the general public will ignore.




Informal code words and propaganda

Main article: Propaganda

An informal code word is a term used without formal or prior agreement to communicate to a subset of listeners or readers predisposed to see its double meaning.

Informal code words can find use in propaganda, distinct from use of euphemistic code words to delay or avoid emotional responses in the audience. They may be intended to be construed as generalized platitudes by the majority of listeners, but as quite specific promises by those for whom the specific wording was crafted.


See also


  1. Suomalainen, Valtteri. Kuolet vain kahdesti. Recallmed 1994.
  3. Article

Usage examples:

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