Jargonbuster: 'Thrown under the bus'

The World Today Updated 2 November 2020 Published 9 December 2019 1 minute READ

The strains imposed on our constitution have seen some antiquated terminology revived. The Opposition reinvented the practice of petitioning Her Majesty with ‘an humble address’ as a way of forcing the government to publish documents.

The new prime minister retaliated with a bit of Norman French, trying and failing to ‘prorogue’ parliament. The obfuscatory language couldn’t obscure his intent, and the Supreme Court would have none of it.

Meanwhile, this column continues its war on business jargon, attempting and failing to ban emails that reach out or circle back. As the year ends, let us add ‘deep dive’ and ‘problematic’ to the banned list. In show business and the handing out of awards in all fields of life, we continued to hear from people who said they were ‘humbled’ when they meant the opposite. The approach of the election surfaced new kinds of jargon, including the use of ‘surface’ as a transitive verb.

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