Monday, November 13, 2006

Use and Abuse of Words - What do you think?

In an earlier post on words and manners, I spoke of my dislike of the growing use in Australia of the word "punter" to describe the general voter because of its contemptuous overtones. In a comment, Lexcen pointed to a few examples he disliked.

The problem with words is that they have both a precise meaning and a bundle of connotations attached to that meaning. Take the word reform as an example. This means to change. But the word also carries the connotation to improve. Hence our politicians use and abuse the word to describe and attempt to sell any change they consider to be important.

Another example is friendly fire. There is nothing friendly about an artillery shell from your own side. Or collateral damage in place of civillian casualties.

What are your pet hates? Let's keep the discussion civilised please, remembering we all have different views.


Travel Italy said...

oxymorons: I have a bunch
Honest Politician
Public Servant
Healthy Choice (name of an industrial processed meat)
Medically Approved (WEBMD talking about the information on their site)
New improved traditional Italian seasoning (Applebees)

Anonymous said...

It is very hard to beat "rendition" meaning kidnapping people so they may be tortured somewhere out of sight.

Less vile, though annoying, is labelling any change you want to push through as a "reform" when in fact "deform" or "regress" might be more apt.

There are so many!