William D. Lutz

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William D. Lutz
Alma materDominican College of Racine, Marquette University, University of Nevada, Reno
Scientific career
InstitutionsRutgers University-Camden

William D. Lutz (/lʌts/; born 12 December 1940) is an American linguist who specializes in the use of plain language and the avoidance of doublespeak (deceptive language). He wrote a famous essay The World of Doublespeak on this subject as well as the book Doublespeak[1] His original essay and the book described the four different types of doublespeak (euphemism, jargon, gobbledygook, and inflated language) and the social dangers of doublespeak.


In 1962, Lutz received his bachelor's degree from the Dominican College of Racine (which closed its doors in 1974). He received his masters degree in English from Marquette University in 1963 and his doctorate in 1971 from the University of Nevada, Reno. Lutz began teaching English at Rutgers University-Camden in 1971, and was made a full professor in 1991. He retired from teaching in 2006.[2]

From 1980 to 1994 Lutz edited the now defunct Quarterly Review of Doublespeak.[3][4] He worked as a consultant with a number of corporations and the United States government to promote the use of 'plain language'. For example, he was a significant contributor to the SEC's Plain English Handbook.[5]

Selected publications[edit]

  • (1974) The Age of Communication[6]
  • (1989) Doublespeak: From "Revenue Enhancement" to "Terminal Living"[1]
  • (1994) The Cambridge Thesaurus of American English[7]
  • (1996) The New Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone's Saying Anymore


  1. ^ a b Lutz, William D. (1989) Doublespeak: From "Revenue Enhancement" to "Terminal Living": How Government, Business, Advertisers, and Others Use Language to Deceive You Harper & Row, New York, ISBN 0-06-016134-5
  2. ^ ""Retirements of Marie Cornelia and Robert Ryan" The Phoenix Spring 2006, page 1" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  3. ^ ""Magazine Reviews:Quarterly Review of Doublespeak" Chip's Closet Cleaner". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  4. ^ "William D. Lutz" NNDB
  5. ^ United States Securities and Exchange Commission (1998) A plain English handbook: how to create clear SEC disclosure documents Office of Investor Education and Assistance, United States. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, DC, OCLC 36595293
  6. ^ Lutz, William D. (1974) The Age of Communication Goodyear Pub. Co., Pacific Palisades, California, ISBN 0-87620-013-7
  7. ^ Lutz, William D. (1994) The Cambridge Thesaurus of American English Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, ISBN 0-521-41427-X

Further reading[edit]

  • (1978) Contemporary Authors: A bio-bibliographical guide to current writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television, and other fields Volumes 33-36, 1st revision, Gale Research, Detroit,

External links[edit]