Rutgers University, where William Lutz was a professor ©Author Adventures

William Lutz

Born in 1940, William Lutz is a linguist who earned his doctorate at the University of Nevada, Reno and later was a professor at Rutgers University. He spearheaded Quarterly Review of Doublespeak for fourteen years (1980-1994).

Lutz specialized in “doublespeak,” which basically means ways of talking or writing that are intentionally indirect, confusing or exaggerating. The origin of the term is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell’s book, 1984. An example of doublespeak is “pre-owned car” instead of “used car” in that “pre-owned” is unclear about actual use.

Read more about William Lutz and his writings here:

University of Nevada, Reno

It is possible to arrange a visit of the University of Nevada, Reno (1664 N. Virginia Street) through this page:

The Work Continues

To read an entire handbook advocating for plain English use, published by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, with William Lutz contributing as a consultant (1998), click here: It includes a preface by corporate leader and icon Warren Buffet.

A Quote by Professor Lutz

“Doublespeak strikes at the function of language-communication between people and social groups-with serious and far-reaching consequences. Our political system depends upon an informed electorate to make decisions in selecting candidates for office and deciding issues of public policy. As doublespeak becomes the coin of the political realm, as doublespeak drives out a language of public discourse that really communicates, speakers and listeners become convinced that they understand such language. We speak today of politicians who don’t lie but ‘misspeak,’ of ‘dysfunction behavior’ not murder, of a ‘predawn vertical insertion’ not the invasion of another country, of ‘violence processing’ or the ‘use of force not of war. When we use such language believing that we are using the public discourse necessary for the health and well being of our community, then, I believe, the world of 1984 is upon us.”

The University of Nevada, Reno is the first stop on our Nevada Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart