12 July 2006

An introduction to Toxic Words

Little stinky linguistic blobs with no nutritional value.

I've decided to begin a new theme, based on those little bits of language I hear at work and through various media that make my nose wrinkle up and my eyes go squinty. You know what I mean - you're sitting in a meeting or watching a politician hold a press conference on the news, and out it pops - a turn of phrase so utterly meaningless and blatantly evasive that it makes "um" a wealth of information by comparison.

I choose to call these linguistic voids, 'Toxic Words'. Because like cleverly administered poison, they seem benign when first introduced, but have a cumulative effect so devastating on the development of rich, useful, elegant language that they endanger its very existence.

Now that you're familiar with the concept, in the interest of brevity I'll adopt a nickname for these Toxic Words in future posts. Hmmm... now what shall I call them for short? Let's see... they vary in length; they have little substance to them; they can be dropped noisily and accidentally by even the most discerning of English users; and they offend the senses.

How about Twords?

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