Waffle is language without meaning; blathering, babbling, droning. One might waffle throughout an essay or a presentation, when not having enough material, or needing to fill in time. The term was derived from waff, a 17th-century onomatopoeia for the sound a barking dog makes, similar to the modern woof – the inference being that waffle words have about as much meaning as the noise made by a dog barking.
The term "to waffle", particularly in the U.S., can also denote indecision about particular subjects; "waffling" can also mean changing one's mind frequently on a topic. Example: "Craig always waffles when he's speaking to Genevieve on the telephone". To which Genevieve usually replies "Come on Craig, come out with it!". In can be used as a derogatory term; to describe, for instance, a candidate or politician who is considered to easily switch sides on issues to curry political favor (i.e. "flip-flop"), as an easily flipped breakfast food with the same name – hence the waffle famously used to represent President Bill Clinton in the Doonesbury comic strip.
- Safire, William: "The waffling of the wishy-washy". The New York Times, 2004.
- Raum, Tom: "The waffle: White House no longer amused by cartoon". Associated Press, 1994.
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