an ultrasonic whistle, audible to dogs and some other animals but out of the range easily perceptible to the human ear, used by handlers of working dogs and by dog trainers.
Chiefly Politics. a choice of words, coded communication, or other symbolic aspect of self-presentation that is superficially unobjectionable or neutral but conveys a secondary message aimed at those who affiliate with a controversial group or fringe ideology, usually signaling one’s own affinity for such beliefs: The candidate used “welfare reform” as a dog whistle appealing to racist voters.The logo on the t-shirt he chose to wear in his profile pic is a neo-Nazi dog whistle.
- dog-whis·tle, adjective
- dog whis·tling, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use dog whistle in a sentence
And yep, the flag can be used in dog whistle fashion to signal a position on “those blacks.”
Is that a dog whistle in your ad or are you just happy to elect Chris McDaniel?
Cynical politicians took advantage of this fact with coded, “dog whistle” language.Why Republicans Don't Get the Benefit of the Doubt on Race | Jamelle Bouie | March 17, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Normally when conservative politicians make dog-whistle appeals to their base, they do so in right-wing publications.In Harvard Law Review, Ted Cruz Blows Dog Whistle for Conspiracy Nuts | Ben Jacobs | January 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Victoria Kezra on the nerd dog whistle Guillermo Del Toro is blowing in his cool new giant robot movie.The ‘Pacific Rim’ Geekfest: Portal, Godzilla, Mecha & More Influences | Victoria Kezra | July 13, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
He pulled a dog-whistle from his pocket and blew two shrill calls upon it.The Adventures of Harry Revel | Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
Around his neck hung a prize which he had won in the games, a silver dog-whistle on a scarlet ribbon.The Cup of Trembling and Other Stories | Mary Hallock Foote
Neither the Master's calls nor the ear-ripping blasts of his dog-whistle could bring her back to The Place.Lad: A Dog | Albert Payson Terhune
Jack had a dog-whistle, so he took it off and gave it to her.Mopsa the Fairy | Jean Ingelow
Hugh went into the house and a few minutes later came out again with the dog whistle and gave it to Jack.Jack, the Young Ranchman | George Bird Grinnell
British Dictionary definitions for dog-whistle
relating to the targeting of potentially controversial messages to specific voters while avoiding offending those voters with whom the message will not be popular: dog-whistle politics
(intr) to employ this kind of political strategy
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