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Friday, July 04, 2003
 
Language

There was an interesting discussion on the BBC's 'Today' programme about the proliferation of junk 'words' in the new Collins English dictionary. I think I side with the conservatives; 'gr8' is not worthy of inclusion.

Depending upon the context, I sometimes take exception to those words where an obscure and imprecise meaning (e.g. 'he passed away') is used instead of a more accurate - but perhaps more distasteful - meaning ('he died'). [I think he is referring to 'use of euphemisms' - or should it simply be 'euphemy'? Ed.] Our Transatlantic military friends are particularly good at inventing phrases that hide the more unpleasant and horrific consequences of their actions. 'Collateral damage' is the best known.

I was particularly interested by Collins's new word: 'shagtastic'. They apparently define this word as 'sexually very attractive'. Hmmm. This definition is just another euphemism.

'A fantastic shag (post-coitally, natch)' would be far more appropriate.


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