Word of the Year 2007

185 Responses

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  • David Haywood,

    Robyn Gallagher wrote:

    Some people spell it "guttered"

    Oh, don't get me started on 'guttered' and its ilk. I seem to be surrounded by people who suffer from some weird pseudo-homonym dyslexia...

    "One 'foul' swoop" (or even "one 'fowl' swoop") instead of "one fell swoop"

    "On 'tenderhooks'" instead of "on tenterhooks"

    etc., etc.

    A recent favourite is "I wouldn't 'trust' him with a ten foot barge pole". Which, actually, is kind of an improvement on the original, now that I think of it.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 988 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Docherty,

    Some people spell it "guttered".

    I am speakerless.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Testcard,

    Robyn Gallagher wrote:

    Some people spell it "guttered"

    Oh, don't get me started on 'guttered' and its ilk. I seem to be surrounded by people who suffer from some weird pseudo-homonym dyslexia...

    "One 'foul' swoop" (or even "one 'fowl' swoop") instead of "one fell swoop"

    "On 'tenderhooks'" instead of "on tenterhooks"

    etc., etc.

    A recent favourite is "I wouldn't 'trust' him with a ten foot barge pole". Which, actually, is kind of an improvement on the original, now that I think of it.

    Hear hear, David. Or as some people would put it... here here.

    My own personal homophone arch-nemesis is 'without further adieu'.

    Since Nov 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    DPF has just made up a beauty in this post on the Electoral Finance Bill amendments

    fillybusters

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    "without further adieu" I think began as a joke on some British comedy show, where all the characters, who were French, bid each other 'adieu' and the announce came in with "without further adieu..."

    Personal hate in this field though: saying someone "flaunted the law". A few years ago someone on NatRad news used to say this all the time. Unless they mean someone waved a law book around showily - which could happen - what they're trying to say is 'flout'

    A personal favourite was a flatmate, many years ago, who was challenged about her indecisiveness over some matter or other and who proclaimed imperiously "its a woman's provocative to change her mind".

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I like fillybusters.

    It's what happens when you flog a dead horse.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    "One 'foul' swoop" (or even "one 'fowl' swoop") instead of "one fell swoop"

    Can't be bothered looking this up, but isn't "foul" the modern spelling of "fell" anyway?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    So then I looked it up

    <quote>MACDUFF: [on hearing that his family and servants have all been killed]

    All my pretty ones?
    Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
    What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
    At one fell swoop?<quote>

    Kite = hunting bird, Fell = fierce, savage.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Can't be bothered looking this up, but isn't "foul" the modern spelling of "fell" anyway?

    Foul is a bad smell. Fell is cruel or fierce. Fell has French origins and is the same place that felon comes from. Foul apparently comes from ful, which is Old English.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Oh, don't get me started on 'guttered' and its ilk. I seem to be surrounded by people who suffer from some weird pseudo-homonym dyslexia...

    "One 'foul' swoop" (or even "one 'fowl' swoop") instead of "one fell swoop"

    "On 'tenderhooks'" instead of "on tenterhooks"

    Oh, you'll love this. The linguistic community has a name for these - they're called eggcorns (you know, the seeds of an oak) - and there's the Eggcorn Database, where you can revel in the linguistic craziness of others.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1863 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I like fillybusters.

    Oh yes. It's a very happy eggcorn.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    SNAP!

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    SNAP!

    For all intensive purposes, let's call it a drawer. ;)

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1863 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Celebutard

    Their PR spinmasters have tried to foist the term Celebutante on us, but no, let's stick with Celebutard. It's a more apt term for those that both stupidly famous and famously stupid.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    and there's the Eggcorn Database, where you can revel in the linguistic craziness of others.

    OMG! Ex-potential! I've been wanting a word for that. Y'know, like the way Chris Cairns had tonnes of potential and just needed to realise his potential and then he retired.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    d'oh!

    It's a more apt term for those that are both stupidly famous and famously stupid.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    oooo... eggcorns.

    'pacific".

    ie, "he wasn't being pacific in his answers, he evaded every major point."

    uniquely new zealand in my experience.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Testcard,

    Nothing to with homonyms or homophones:

    I detest the misuse of 'literally' as a synonym to 'very' - i.e. 'I'm literally gutted.'

    What, like a fish?

    Since Nov 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    the misuse of 'literally' as a synonym to 'very' - i.e. 'I'm literally gutted.'

    What, like a fish?

    nah, just means they haven't got the ability to digest literature.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Testcard,

    On reflection, the misuse of 'literally' is a homophone matter, since it seems to also be a synonym for 'totally' or 'absolutely'...

    Nice one Che.

    I'm literally in awe of you right now.

    Since Nov 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Creon Upton,

    "Literally buggered" was how a bloke described himself to me once.

    Maybe the entire nation's suffering from old timer's disease.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Maybe the entire nation's suffering from old timer's disease.

    You mean like the prostrate problems I keep hearing about?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Creon Upton,

    You mean like the prostrate problems I keep hearing about?

    Well, you can't be literally buggered if you're supine.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    But the question is, would all of these wonderfully practical uses of language get you points in a PISA test? It wouldn't surprise me. And would "the chances of winning Lotto are a million to one" be acceptable?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    Is it an urban myth, or was it true, that once upon a time comparative census statistics showed that NZ had the highest proportion of one-person religions in the world? Who cares, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. My bet (again) is that we are just really creative (i.e. bad) spellers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

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