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  1. #1
    pinbong is offline Junior Member
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    Default How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    Hi, teachers:

    I want to know how negative is the word "weasel" in English? Being a foreigner I have no idea. Just have noticed that in many TV shows, both British and American, when people mentioned weasel they always have a broad knowing grin on their faces. I wanna know how negative is this word?? And what exactly does it mean?? (I know the animal. )

    Many thanks in advance.:)

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    Quote Originally Posted by pinbong View Post
    Hi, teachers:

    I want to know how negative is the word "weasel" in English? Being a foreigner I have no idea. Just have noticed that in many TV shows, both British and American, when people mentioned weasel they always have a broad knowing grin on their faces. I wanna know how negative is this word?? And what exactly does it mean?? (I know the animal. )

    Many thanks in advance.:)
    If you describe somebody as a weasel, it's negative.

    From Macmillan English Dictionary:

    a small thin animal with brown fur, short legs, and a long tail that hunts its food
    more...



    an insulting word for a dishonest person
    more...

  3. #3
    Munch's Avatar
    Munch is offline Member
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    Default Re: How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    I agree with bhaisahab but to be more specific about how negative it is, I will give my impression.

    In general, if you call someone a weasel they would probably not be happy - but it is not really an offensive word in itself. You are just saying they are dishonest.

    To me, it is far less offensive than a word like "bitch", for example.

  4. #4
    pinbong is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    Thanks to you both, Mr. bhaisahab and Mr. Munch. Now I can see the negativeness a little bit more.

    Haha, to accuse somebody of being dishonest is very negative. ^_^

    "Bitch" is offensive too, of course. To my understanding, it mainly means someone being very bad-tempered and unreasonable like a female animal?? Am I understanding it correctly??

    If correct, I find "weasel" to be more offensive because it negates one's moral aspect; while "bitch" is just a personality thing.

    Not sure if I'm right. Please correct. Thanks:)

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    Ther's also a verb, meaning 'to get out of a duty by dubious and/or underhand means': 'I bet you he'll weasel his way out of doing his fair share, as usual', or 'You might as well do it. You can't weasel your way out of it this time'...

    Formerly, the weasel was regarded as an animal of ill omen. I don't think this fear is current now, but it may have influenced the growth of the word as a term of abuse.

    b

  6. #6
    pinbong is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    Many thanks, Mr. BobK.:)

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    You're welcome.

    I've just thought that as well as 'weaseling your way' out of something you can 'weasel your way' into something. My impression is that this expression (with 'into') is less common than 'out of', but it's quite possible: 'He weaseled his way into her affections just so that he could get his hands on her money.'

    b

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: How negative is the word "Weasel" in English??(I'm a foreigner)

    We also have weasel words when someone tries to hide the truth behind vague words, euphemisms, etc.

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