Today's Word "jawboning"

Use of spoken persuasion on

Published in Vocabulary

jawboning \JAW-boh-ning\ (noun) - The use of public appeals (as by a president) to influence the actions especially of business and labor leaders; broadly : the use of spoken persuasion

"The governor was reluctant to intervene directly in the strike, so he resorted to jawboning, urging both sides to return to the bargaining table with warnings and rhetoric."


In the late 1800s, the noun "jawbone" meant "credit" ("his money's gone, so he lives on jawbone"). By the mid-1950s, people were writing about "jawbone control" (in reference to regulations intended to make people cautious), and by 1966 the verb "to jawbone" (meaning "to talk about to gain some end") was appearing regularly in the media. The noun "jawboning" made its print debut in 1969. All of these uses were likely influenced by the verb "jaw," which has long been used with the meanings "to talk" or "to scold."




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