Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |
Language: Linguistics · Semiotics · Speech
Glittering generalities ( besides called glowing generalities ) are emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly-valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting data or reason. such highly-valued concepts attract general approval and acclaim. Their invoke is to emotions such as love of country and home, and desire for peace, freedom, glory, and honor. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. They are typically used by politicians and propagandists .


The terminus may have been popularized by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in the 1930s, but dates from the mid-19th century in the american english context. Abraham Lincoln, in an April 6, 1859 letter to Henry L. Pierce, wrote of political opponents of the day who slighted the foundational principles of Thomas Jefferson as “ glittering generalities ”. [ 1 ] Lincoln was probable public speaking of Rufus Choate, a senator from Massachusetts who sided with the democratic Party in the period leading to the American Civil War, and dismissed those who argued that bondage contradicted Jefferson ‘s statement of natural rights in the United States Declaration of Independence. however, it is indecipherable whether the phrase was originated by Choate or Franklin J. Dickman, a judge and legal scholar of the day. [ 2 ]


A glitter generality has two qualities :

  1. It is obscure
  2. It has positive connotations

Words and phrases such as “ common good ”, “ exchange “, “ courage “, “ democracy “, “ freedom “, “ hope “, “ patriotism “, “ persuasiveness ”, are terms that people all over the universe have brawny associations with, and they may have worry disagreeing with them. however, these words are highly abstract and ambiguous, and meaningful differences exist regarding what they actually mean or should mean in the real world. George Orwell described such words at length in his essay “ Politics and the english terminology ” :

In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are about wholly lacking in intend. Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are rigorously meaningless, in the common sense that they not merely do not point to any ascertainable object, but are barely ever expected to do then by the proofreader. When one critic writes, “ The outstanding feature of Mr. X ‘s oeuvre is its animation choice, ” while another writes, “ The immediately fall thing about Mr. X ‘s work is its peculiar deadness, ” the proofreader accepts this as a simple dispute opinion. If words like black and white were involved, alternatively of the jargoon words dead and living, he would see at once that lyric was being used in an improper manner. many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no mean except in so far as it signifies “ something not desirable. ” The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them respective different meanings which can not be reconciled with one another. In the case of a parole like democracy, not only is there no agree definition, but the undertake to make one is resisted from all sides. It is about universally felt that when we call a state democratic we are praising it : consequently the defenders of every kind of regimen claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one mean. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously corruptible way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like “ Marshal Pétain was a dependable patriot, ” “ The soviet compress is the freest in the earth, ” “ The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, ” are about always made with intent to deceive. other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are : class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

The most outstanding use of glittering generalities is in the fields of political campaign and advertise. [ How to reference and link to summary or text ]

See besides


  • Code give voice
  • Golden hammer
  • Hardworking families
  • ideogram
  • Language and thought
  • Loaded speech
  • Logical fallacy
  • Rhetorical device
  • Virtue password


  1. Abraham Lincoln to Henry L. Pierce, 6 April 1859 ( hypertext transfer protocol : //

  2. Bartlett ‘s Familiar Quotations, 10th erectile dysfunction. 1919 ( hypertext transfer protocol : //

Template : propaganda zh : 光輝普照

informant :
Category : propaganda examples

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.