From the Jargon Log: “negative treatment”

Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, Juan van der Hamen, 17th century (Instituto Valencia de Don Juan)

Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, Juan van der Hamen, 17th century (Instituto Valencia de Don Juan)

NYTimes, 8-6-18 — Under Israeli law, the prime minister alone is authorized to approve an assassination operation, euphemistically known as “negative treatment” within the Mossad.

[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to From the Jargon Log: “negative treatment”

  1. cindy knoke says:

    “Negative treatment,” would qualify as a euphemism, I would guess.
    There are lots of these euphemisms in history, like “concentration camps,” for example, which imply a sort of meditative retreat.
    I read the article. And several others from the NY Times on the same subject. Apparently this not so nice behavior has been going on for a long time, always for a very good reason of course, like all the attempts to kill, sorry, “negatively treat,” Yasser Arafat.
    This is why I generally prefer birds to people, they can fly away from us.

    • JMN says:

      So true. I echo your sentiments. I don’t collect the jargon for violence with joy, but I feel it my duty as a linguist not to let it fly under the radar. One of the most odious terms similar to “negative treatment” that I’ve encountered over the years is “wet work.” I think there may still be plausible theories that Arafat’s death wasn’t from natural causes, though he did suffer from ill health. I’m fascinated by euphemisms in general. One that’s a pet peeve, for some reason, is “passed away” (or worse, simply “passed”) for “died.” Glorious are the birds and other creatures you celebrate so luminously in your pictures and lyrical narratives that accompany them. Thank you for visiting. I treasure your inputs.

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