A little more on dog whistles etc.

In the previous installment (4/4/14, here), Geoff Nunberg was looking for a good term to use for a particular class of racially coded vocabularly, for a discussion on public radio: dog whistle, euphemism, whatever. He makes the point that the purpose of this vocabulary is crucial.

On the next day, on ADS-L, from Geoff:

the figure is designed to avoid unambiguously suggesting certain social attitudes to listeners who disapprove of them (as distinct from euphemisns, which enable the speaker to avoid uttering a coextensive term that some listeners find unsavory).  “Obliquity” conveys one part of this, and “conivinutation” nicely conveys the other, though neither is a word they would let you use on public radio.

Obliquity, though rare, is not unattested. But conivinutation?

I noted, in puzzlement, on ADS-L that the word is apparently a total neologism, not in any dictionary I could find, or attested on the net.  And I didn’t see how to parse/derive it or figure out what it means.

It is indeed a total neologism — attributable, as it turns out, to ADS-Ler W. Brewer, who gives a pronunciation and an entertaining etymology:

[kuh-NIGH-vuh new-TAY-shun],  lit. ‘winking & nodding’  <–  Latin co:ni:ve:re ‘to wink’ + nu:ta:re ‘to nod’.

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. A nice image in the context.

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