dog whistle

[ dawg-hwis-uh l, -wis-, dog- ]
/ ˈdɔgˌʰwɪs əl, -ˌwɪs-, ˈdɒg- /


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.

Nearby words

  1. dog train,
  2. dog tucker,
  3. dog violet,
  4. dog warden,
  5. dog whelk,
  6. dog work,
  7. dog's age,
  8. dog's breakfast,
  9. dog's chance,
  10. dog's disease

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dog-whistle

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 populardog-whistle politics


(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