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politically correct

[puh-lit-ik-lee kuh-rekt] /pəˈlɪt ɪk li kəˈrɛkt/
marked by or adhering to a typically progressive orthodoxy on issues involving especially ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ecology: The actor’s comment about unattractive women was not politically correct. The CEO feels that people who care about being politically correct are overly sensitive. Abbreviations: PC, P.C.
Origin of politically correct
1790-95 (in the sense “in accordance with established norms”); 1970-75 for the more recent meaning, which evolved from earlier Communist uses in the 1920s
Related forms
political correctness, noun
Word story
Since entering English in the late 1700s, the term politically correct has undergone several shifts in meaning. Originally, the term was used to describe something that was in accordance with established political, legal, or social norms or conventions. The 1870s saw the introduction of the opposite term, politically incorrect, a useful addition to the language, considering how commonly politically correct was and still is used in negative constructions.
Somewhat grimly, in the 1920s the Soviet Communist Party began using the concept of political correctness to enforce strict adherence to the party line in all aspects of life. It you were unfortunate enough to be deemed politically incorrect, you were likely to be exiled to a gulag, or worse.
Today the term politically correct (and its abbreviation PC), more often than not, refers specifically to the language that surrounds controversial or hot-button issues. Liberals have used the negative construction not politically correct to draw attention to words, phrases, or statements that they felt were socially unacceptable or insensitive. The conservative response to this has been to question and generally reject the notion of political correctness, arguing that it too often entails “the policing of language.” As a result, critics of the term politically correct often use it to modify nouns such as “euphemism,” “nonsense,” “hogwash,” and “propaganda.” Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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  • Future actions and measures may likely reflect "politically correct" alternatives.

    Shock and Awe Harlan K. Ullman
British Dictionary definitions for politically correct

politically correct

demonstrating progressive ideals, esp by avoiding vocabulary that is considered offensive, discriminatory, or judgmental, esp concerning race and gender PC
Derived Forms
political correctness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for politically correct

first attested in prevailing current sense 1970; abbreviation P.C. is from 1986.

[T]here is no doubt that political correctness refers to the political movement and phenomenon, which began in the USA, with the aim to enforce a set of ideologies and views on gender, race and other minorities. Political correctness refers to language and ideas that may cause offence to some identity groups like women and aims at giving preferential treatment to members of those social groups in schools and universities. [Thuy Nguyen, "Political Correctness in the English Language,"2007]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with politically correct

politically correct

Also,PC orp.c. Showing an effort to make broad social and political changes to redress injustices caused by prejudice. It often involves changing or avoiding language that might offend anyone, especially with respect to gender, race, or ethnic background. For example, Editors of major papers have sent out numerous directives concerning politically correct language. This expression was born in the late 1900s, and excesses in trying to conform to its philosophy gave rise to humorous parodies.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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