[Ads-l] palter, n.

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 17 12:22:05 EST 2021

The term has evidently been popularized by University of Virginia law
professor Frederick Schauer and Harvard political economy professor Richard
J. Zeckhauser, who co-authored a paper entitled "Paltering" in 2007, later
collected in the edited volume "Deception: From Ancient Empires to Internet
Dating" (2009).


An excerpt, with "paltering" as verbal noun and "palter" as noun:

"Our goal here is to explore this area of less-than-lying, and to focus in
particular on the widespread practice of fudging, twisting, shading,
bending, stretching, slanting, exaggerating, distorting, whitewashing, and
selective reporting. Such deceptive practices are occasionally designated
by the uncommon word 'paltering,' which the American Heritage Dictionary
defines as acting insincerely or misleadingly. Although the intended effect
of a palter is the same as that of a lie, both the dictionary definition of
'palter' and everyday usage of related ideas make a palter something
troublesome, but still falling short of a full-bore lie."

On Wed, Feb 17, 2021 at 11:05 AM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> Not in OED as a noun, but presumably it’s a (nonce?) zero-derivation from
> the well-established (but heretofore unfamiliar to me) verb:
> Palter, v.
> 2a. To shift, equivocate, or prevaricate in action or speech; to act or
> deal evasively, esp. for treacherous ends; to use trickery.
> LH
> > On Feb 17, 2021, at 8:42 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> > Not in OED.
> >
> > Quora.com:
> >
> > "The answer that says minimum wage in California has kept up with median
> > wage in California is a palter—a factually correct lie—because it implies
> > that things now are the same as they were then, without considering the
> > reality that minimum wage may have kept up with median wage but that
> > doesn’t necessarily mean it’s kept up with inflation."
> >

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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