Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Forbidden Words for 2011
There are some words and phrases that should be retired, because I'm tired of reading them.
deep pockets = fat wallet, healthy bank balance (do you keep your money loose in your pockets?)
You collect a pension POT. The government keeps its money in COFFERS, or the public PURSE. You hit people in the WALLET, especially if they have deep POCKETS. (Replace with piggy bank, treasure chest, bank account, cash box at random.)
BIG for severe, extreme, top etc.
Afghanistan is the world’s biggest recipient of aid (gets the most aid… it’s the amount of aid that’s the biggest, not the country)
hugely limited = severely restricted
big mileages = high mileages
one of the biggest victims = one of the worst-hit victims
blow = setback
break into Why is it publishing that people have to “break” into? (Tip: Don't start your application letter "I am determined to break into publishing".)
hotly You always dispute things hotly.
BRUTAL for very, extremely It still feels brutally humid and oppressive (Ed Smith, Times Oct 2011)/ The world's newest nation, South Sudan, is brutally impoverished, but it just announced plans to build new capital from scratch @urbanphoto_blog
disgruntled Sacked ex-employees who hack company websites/make nuisance calls to clients are always “disgruntled”.
droughts always “hit”
explode, explosion = Restrict use to bombs. C. difficile infection is caused by antibiotics wiping out swathes of bacteria in the gut. It gives the surviving C. difficile bacteria room to explode in numbers and produce masses of toxins which lead to diarrhoea and can be fatal. bbconline dec 2011/Agents tell me that there is an explosion in tenants unable to move. (Make that a huge increase. Or try multiply, proliferate or expand.)
FIERCE denials are always fierce, Colombians have a fierce contempt for authority (people are also fiercely sensual, and dessert menus can be fiercely retro)
FUEL, TRIGGER Try lead to, give rise to, powered by, contribute to, start, raise (fears)
gloom rises, the squeeze deepens = In the real world gloom darkens, squeezes tighten.
grip What famines or frosts do to countries
HURTLE It’s what things do in space. Couldn’t they speed, rush, fly, whiz or zoom sometimes? Men in Mars project “were supposedly hurtling millions of miles through space”/ See the Southern Lights from above as space station astronauts hurtle past./ The spacecraft will hurtle through space at a remarkable speed./ How fast would we hurtle off into space if gravity was suddenly removed?/ In the commercial, photon humanoids leap off a platform on the sun and hurtle through space towards earth./ Why do we hurtle ourselves through every inch of time and space (Indigo Girls)/ It's a place for everyone, young and old, to journey to a fantasy land of the past and future where you can hurtle through space to unknown lands (Florida Magic Kingdom)… Or do you mean hurl? The stage is all set for the launch of PSLV-C18, which will hurtle into space the 1,000kg Indo-French collaborative Megha Tropique satellite.
Idylls are always “shattered”. An idyll is either a romantic relationship or a “tranquil” and old-fashioned way of life. (“Ordered worlds” are constantly being “disrupted” too. “Immediately the couple's well ordered, harmonious world begins to disintegrate.” crivoice.org on Adam and Eve “Often they begin from a premise of a relatively ordered world suddenly disrupted by a crime.” British Television Drama in the 1980s by George W. Brandt)
have ignited controversy = have started controversy
indictment [Practically anything] is a sad indictment of society.
is set to = on course to
jockey/vie for position = compete
light always pours or floods @FatCharlesH
motley = what assortments always are
Research is always painstaking (and usually takes two years). And so is restoration: After six years of painstaking restoration (the Bolshoi reopens)./ She gives me a tour of the painstakingly renovated building. BBC October 28, 2011
public rebukes are always “stinging”
revenge = always thirsted for
savage = what cuts are
sentimentality = always “unabashed”
Sitting is still popular: The headstones which had been positioned around the perimeter wall have been broken up and now sit in a large pile in the deconsecrated church yard. (Surely they're lying?)
spark, trigger, ignite = provoke outrage, precipitate, bring about, open a debate, start, begin, bring in
spectre, threat People are fond of writing "the spectre of X" rather than plain "X" A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of communism. Karl Marx (At least his spectre was haunting something.) Bubonic plague, the Black Death, has been one of man's most terrific scourges. Time, 1930/ This summer the once dreaded scourge of bubonic plague is on the loose in the Southwest U.S. Time, 1983 (A plague is a plague – it doesn’t need to be a scourge as well.)/ The scourge of scrap-metal theft on the railways is so bad that…
swathes = always vast @entschwindet
swell Periodic Table swells as three new elements named (lengthens, grows)
tension is always eroded (how about reducing it? or even better, slackening it?)
throngs of people are usually dark-skinned (especially if they’re a “ululating throng”)
Torrential rain sparks flooding (BBC Online) causes - the rain would put the spark out
unleash = activate, enable
visceral = used to mean almost anything (unpleasant, earthy)
A Catechism of Cliché here.
More journalistic clichés here.