"on background"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 12 15:01:20 UTC 2012

This journalistic phrase has been around for a while. Not in OED:

2012 Bob Woodward _The Price of Politics_ (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster) xiii:
Most interviews were conducted on "background," meaning the information
could be used in the book but none of the sources would be identified by

I.e., "with the understanding that the source will not be identified."


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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