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dog whistle

[ dawg-hwis-uhl, -wis-, dog- ]
/ ˈdɔgˌʰwɪs əl, -ˌwɪs-, ˈdɒg- /
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noun
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.
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Origin of dog whistle

First recorded in 1800–05

OTHER WORDS FROM dog whistle

dog-whis·tle, adjectivedog whis·tling, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use dog whistle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dog whistle

dog-whistle

adjective
relating to the targeting of potentially controversial messages to specific voters while avoiding offending those voters with whom the message will not be populardog-whistle politics
verb
(intr) to employ this kind of political strategy

Word Origin for dog-whistle

C21: from the fact that a dog whistle operates at frequencies that can be heard only by dogs
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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