dog whistle

[dawg-hwis-uh l, -wis-, dog-]
noun
  1. Politics. a political strategy, statement, slogan, etc., that conveys a controversial, secondary message understood only by those who support the message: His criticism of welfare was a dog whistle appealing to racist voters.

Origin of dog whistle

First recorded in 1995–2000; < dog whistle a high-frequency whistle audible to dogs but not humans
Related formsdog-whis·tle, adjectivedog whistling, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018