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A.Word.A.Day--spin doctor

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spin doctor (spin DOK-tuhr) noun

A representative who is adept in presenting a favorable interpretation of events, utterances, and actions for a politician or some other public figure; one who manipulates news.

[Spin, from ballgames (e.g. baseball) where spinning a ball helps a player project it in the desired direction; doctor (expert) or from the verb to doctor (to tamper or falsify).]

Politics has been around for ages but surprisingly the term spin doctor is relatively recent. It arose during the 1984 US presidential election. This term is also used facetiously to refer to people in a number of other professions, e.g. disk jockey, vertigo specialist, bicycle mechanic, and a player who is good at spinning a ball in cricket, tennis, billiards, or some other game.

See more usage examples of spin doctor in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"In the heat of the court battle, tempers at times flared as De Bourbon tried to corner the slippery spin doctor." Mugabe's Spin Doctor Grilled Over 'Defamation'; Sunday Times (Johannesburg, South Africa); Jun 20, 2004.

"As soon as Thursday night's presidential debate was over, commentators and spin doctors began declaring victory for one candidate or the other." Debates, Round One; Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina); Oct 3, 2004.

This week's theme: words from politics and elections.


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