= the language of officialdom, characterized by bureaucratic turgidity and insubstantial fustian. The defining characteristic of officialese is the habitual use of inflated language that could be readily translated into simpler terms: “Let us now proceed to perambulate down the corridor to procure our postprandial libations.” As translated: “Let's go down the hall for after-dinner drinks.”
Among the linguistically unsophisticated, puffed-up language seems more impressive. Police officers never get out of their cars; instead, they exit their vehicles. They never smell anything; rather, they detect it by olfaction. They proceed to a residence and observe the suspect partaking of food. Rather than sending papers to each other, officials transmit them (by hand delivery, not by fax). And among lawyers, rather than suing, one institutes legal proceedings against or brings an action against.
For sound guidance on how to avoid officialese, see Ernest Gowers, The Complete Plain Words (Bruce Fisher ed., 2d ed. 1973); and J.R. Masterson & W.B. Phillips, Federal Prose: How to Write in and/or for Washington (1948).
Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage, Bryan A. Garner