What is charged language?

Charged language is language that contains implications beyond the meanings of words, and is often used to persuade or convey a specific way of thinking.

The concept of charged language might sound strange, but it is used in nearly every medium.

Some examples of charged language:

A politician who supports reform might be described as “enthusiastic about reform” by people who support them, or as “a fanatic about reform” by people who don’t support them (“fanatic” has a more negative connotation, and therefore describing the politician this way puts them in a negative light).

A young woman being described as “slender” or as “thin” (“thin” implies more of a sense of unhealthiness than “slender”).

Charged words are also words that have a certain shock value that can be used to strike an emotional chord with a person (charged words are in italics):

  • The freedom fighters are no more than terrorists .
  • This policy is a plague/cancer on our city.
  • Maybe it was an accident, but he’s still a murderer.
  • She’s an angel of a teacher.

Note: charged words are usually more negative, but if a word has a strong enough positive connotation (like “angel” or “patriot”) it can also be considered charged.

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