|"I'm not promising anything specific with this wink, but I am promising something."|
(photo by Sigma DP2)
Verb. Mid-17th century.
1(a) verb trans. Persuade or prevail upon (a person) by delusive flattery, specious promises, etc.
(Followed by into, out of, to do.) M17
1(b) verb trans. Coax (something) out of a person. M18
2 verb intrans. Use cajolery.
cajolement noun E19
cajoler noun L17
|Apparently, the |
(photo by John McStravick)
[French cajolerie, formed as preceding.]
The action or an instance of cajoling;
persuasion by flattery, deceit, etc.
Cajolery is persuasion by the sidewise attack. It’s flattery mixed with false promises, batted eyelashes and a tilt to the head. The cajoling look is sidelong or “puppy-dog,” with a quiver of the lip and a hopeful, pleading appeal to the victim’s better nature or overstated talents.
“Please can I have a cookie? You know you make the very best cookies in the world.”
“Just five more minutes on the TV please? You don’t really mind, right? You’re the best and nicest…”
“Please, pretty please? I’ll behave for the rest of the day if you’ll just be nice and let me do this one thing…”
There is something both childish and conniving in this word’s connotation. The lilting voice, the demands phrased as questions, the strategic placement of compliments and complaints. The victim is left with a feeling that to resist would be to surrender to the evil of the universe, and to crush the admiration and esteem of the cajoler. It is more manipulative than coaxing, because it holds the tantalizing double-punch of flattery and promises, the sense of “just this one time… and because you love me.”
Have you been the victim of cajolery?
Are you, in fact, a master cajoler yourself?
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