Words

The Advertising Standards Board is the arbiter of all things proper in advertising.

Fork THIS

But they’re not the nanny-statists some might assume them to be. They have upheld the right for advertisers to use the phrase “fork”, as in, “no forking worries”.

What’s on your plate today, Punchers?

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  • sunny says:

    07:00pm | 30/11/12

    A while back I told Tory that I got turned on every time she called bullshit. I think that was a mistake. Read more »

  • sunny says:

    06:53pm | 30/11/12

    pa_kelvin - Cheers for the heads up. Nah can’t take it off the market, it’s making too much coin. Have spoken to the lawyers and they said we just need to put a warning on the side of the box “Caution: Failure to service the Flux Core Capacitor (TM) may… Read more »

 

As editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, I picture myself as the woman with the mop and broom and bucket cleaning the language off the floor after the party is over. And in this case it was quite a party.

Could this take some of the heat out of the issue? Probably not… Cartoon: Bill Leak

But what it left on the floor was misogyny – with a new meaning. The established meaning of misogyny is ‘hatred of women” but this is a rarefied term that goes back to the 1600s in English that acquired the status of a psychological term in the late 1800s when its counterpart misandry was coined. Both terms refer to pathological hatreds.

Since the 1980s misogyny has come to be used as a synonym for sexism – a synonym with bite but nevertheless with the meaning of ‘entrenched prejudice against women’ rather than ‘pathological hatred of women’.

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  • OchreBunyip says:

    06:50pm | 18/10/12

    I don’t think hating one women necessarily translates into all women…perhaps we need a new word soligynist - the hatred of just one woman. No need to thank me, dictionary editors, its all in a day’s musings. it can be used for that one, special ex, or the PM without… Read more »

  • JT says:

    06:09pm | 18/10/12

    @vox Are you really that obtuse vox? You attack others for non-expert opinions and yet you are completely ignorant of the fact that my entire post earlier is a direct quote from George Orwell’s 1984. Someone as ignorant as you should not cast aspersions on others. Read more »

 

Australia, we suck at pronunciation. After all, we’re the country that can barely pronounce its own name. Aus-tray-lia? It’s Straya, mate. Love it or leave it.

A statue of the unpronounceable man who named Mt Kosciuszko, Paul Strzelecki

Peoples’ names? Nope, too hard. Yesterday, Puncher Anthony Sharwood took to the streets to conduct a hilarious survey for News.com.au about our seventh most popular last name: Nguyen. Most streetfolk challenged to say the name properly answered with some variation of neg-ewe-yen (proper pronunciation right here). One bloke even asked if the Vietnamese surname was Aboriginal.

Riiiiight. And Nguyen’s just the tip of the iceberg. People often say the Chinese surname, Zhang, as zang. It’s jung. I can name at least two Greek families I know who have last names six syllables long. Most people can’t say them - and most Greek surnames are fairly phonetic.

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  • James says:

    07:53pm | 23/08/12

    WHAT??? As in Hobbiton? I knew there was something about Tassie. Read more »

  • marley says:

    07:53pm | 23/08/12

    Ah well, when someone talks about getting a lease car in lieu of a pay rise, it’s “loo” not “lef” isn’t it? Read more »

 

Traditional signs of approaching armageddon include famines, earthquakes and (if you happen to be in a Simpsons movie) the fatal dissolving of a rock band’s barge in polluted lake water.

I guess what we're really asking is: do you think you can contribute to the transformative culture of embedded change around here?

To this chilling list of end-of-days omens, I would like to add: opaquely-worded advertisements for jobs which seem to exist in dimensions accessible only to those fluent in management-ese.

Take, as just one terrifying example, the large “worker wanted” ad I snipped from a prominent page in a Sydney broadsheet newspaper not too many Saturdays ago. It announces that a “Change Manager – Transformation Leader” is required for a “newly created step change role, within a recently amalgamated business of 7000+ employees”.

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  • P says:

    03:11pm | 10/08/12

    @acotrel That seems a touch ad hominem to me. As a long time reader of The Punch (before, you know, I decided that people were wrong - on the Internet, and I needed to fix it), I’ve always enjoyed your lone stands against the Liberal haters. Having said that, I… Read more »

  • acotrel says:

    11:07pm | 09/08/12

    One thing is certain in industry - ‘change will happen’ ! What do yoiu believe ? : ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ ? ‘She’ll be right mate’ ? ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ ? ‘Don’t care was made to care’ ? or ‘AS IT WAS - SO… Read more »

 

Hey! I just met you,
And this is craz—- um, unadvisable,
But here’s my number,
So call me maybe.


They’re the inescapably catchy lyrics of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, which thousands of Australian minds have been captive to in recent times.

Well, they’re nearly the lyrics. They’re what they would be if we took words we use in everyday life a little too seriously. Let me explain.

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  • Crexneoro says:

    01:57pm | 15/12/12

    The cover (for the bag) arrives from China, the zipper kind Japan, the lining from Korea the embroidery from India and the label says a€Made in Francea€.uggs bootsIf you want to skateboard, get by yourself a pair. <a >ugg bottes france</a> So, I was very unfortunate. Read more »

  • MaudakO47 says:

    07:42pm | 18/08/12

    An oil adjust sticker will not be one thing you need to overlook one applied car. Especially for anyone who is preparing to get it, you might want to see that it matches the mileage on the meter, or you shouldn?t order it. The issue could possibly be in worse… Read more »

 

We come into this world naked and squalling. Red in the neck, uncouth. Unsophisticated. Obsessed with boobs, loud, annoying, a bit farty.  Not much interest in literature.

Top of the bogan chain. Pic: Supplied

We are all born bogans, and life is just a matter of accreting varying levels of sophistication.

Today, as we bathe in The Voice winner Karise Eden’s victory proclamation of “I love youse all”, we can also joyfully splash about in the fact that the word ‘bogan’ has finally made it into the Oxford English Dictionary.

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  • A.T says:

    12:56pm | 04/08/12

    Tory Shepherd you may have been born a bogan I wasn’t my parents taught me couth and culture from an early age they also taught me not to be borrish, obnoxious or rude.  Having money,d boozing it up, driving a big flash ute and dragging a jetski around is none… Read more »

  • K2 says:

    01:36pm | 04/07/12

    Culture is just your cult (in green language).  Given that we live in a world where socially accepted norms are driven by the mass media, it would seem that now being a ‘bogan’ is “normal” - lets take it one step further and look at Lady Ca-Ca, and you can… Read more »

 

Like yin and yang. Bono and Cher. Jekyll and Hyde. While they’ll always be a long list of words we hate, there’s just as many that we’ll always love.  Some are satisfying. Others are fun to say. And lots are hard to spell. Here’s a bunch of our favourites, add yours below.

Swoon!

Mercenary: Such a whimsical sounding word with such an unfortunate meaning.

Whack: As in, that shit is whack.

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  • whogsork says:

    08:22am | 12/10/12

    http://replicapursesa.posterous.com/[/URL - Read more »

  • Lisa says:

    03:15pm | 28/05/12

    I love deluge and antediluvian.  They just flow… Read more »

 

They can ruin a perfectly good sentence. Make your roll your eyes and scrunch up your face. Say grrrr. The worst ones have the power to ruin your day. They’re the words we hate and they’re everywhere. So we’ve made a list! And now all those horrible words can live together at last. Join in.

Arrrrghhh! It's like a nightmare!

Birthing/gifting/tasking
There are too many perfectly good nouns being turned into improvised verbs. Here are some of our least favourite. Birthing is potentially the most annoying.  It’s used in sentences like: “when I was birthing Sally”. And usually by people gloating about the fact that they didn’t have an epidural.

Panties
Shudder. This word is the verbal equivalent of a recoil.

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  • sophie rose says:

    08:48am | 01/08/12

    I’ve just moved back to Tassie after 28 years on the mainland - every single bloody person says ‘youse’. Read more »

  • Ambre says:

    08:30am | 25/05/12

    @TJ Along the same lines. I HATE it when people write ‘youse’ as ‘use’ FFS! Read more »

 

Most Australians couldn’t give two hoots who runs the Australia Network. It is of no importance to them whether the ABC or SKY News is in charge of the television service this country projects into Asia.

Just the same, the spectacular botching of the tender process during the week has a political impact because it reinforces the impression of government incompetence.

The response of many voters to the scandal will be: “See, I told you. This mob couldn’t raffle a chook in a pub.”

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  • Labor is Toxic says:

    04:54am | 13/12/11

    @ Acotrel You forgot two .... From 1991 to 1996 they built a debt of $80B!!! From 2008 to 2012 they spent $45B in cash reserves then built a debt of $130B!!! Read more »

  • Labor is Toxic says:

    04:47am | 13/12/11

    @ Marilyn Shepherd In Queensland a public servant, who was born in New Zealand, aledgedly stole $16M. This same public servant had a criminal record that could not be “found” by the authorities. What luck do you think we would have of finding the criminal record of anyone arriving by… Read more »

 

Like kitsch, schnauzer and – to a lesser extent – gemütlichkeit*, schadenfreude is one of those excitingly guttural expressions that has hitchhiked its way from Germany into English-speaking countries such as Australia.

Well really, how do you dismantle a trampoline? Pic: Failblog.org

The loanword is a combination of Schaden (harm) and freude (joy), and describes pleasure taken in other people’s misfortunes.

It’s a phenomenon which can be observed with increasing frequency on internet sites such as failblog.org which revels in human error, embarrassment and outright idiocy.

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  • Shane says:

    02:10pm | 20/09/11

    Wow gonzo, did you have to write a whole comment to show the punchers you’re devoid of humour? Comment FAIL ( that’s just for @neo) Read more »

  • Another Emma says:

    09:54pm | 19/09/11

    I absolutely love your articles Emma! I wish you wrote for the punch daily Read more »

 

Queensland really dodged a bullet.

Cartoon: Jos Valdman

After the devastating floods of that fatal tsunami inundated the state, the waters had barely receded when it was out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Turns out Yasi’s bark was worse than its bite.

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  • Anna says:

    11:22pm | 05/02/11

    I think it was a bit over-ambitious to expect that the average Punch reader would actually ‘get’ this article!! Read more »

  • Anna says:

    11:19pm | 05/02/11

    Paul, I think you and many others have completely missed the point of this ‘rant’!  It’s about the overuse of tired cliches during the recent disasters. Sad reflection on our education system these days, when people need everything spelled out for them!! Read more »

 

Recently, much has been said about the death of the book. Perhaps more accurate though, is the death of words themselves.

When it doubt, ruin someone else's word. Photo: AFP.

Not that this is anything new. Oscar Wilde lamented Victorian England’s loss of meaning through an obsession with politeness, appearances and crustless sandwiches.

However, the difference now is that the meaning of words is decomposing because people use inappropriate synonyms to feel better about their insufficient vocabulary.

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  • http://jgddesign.com/blog/gdiii-members/kareneminj says:

    02:35pm | 26/07/12

    You made some clear points there. I did a search on the subject and found most people will approve with your site. Read more »

  • Tracy says:

    01:41pm | 29/12/10

    Hello Retired Soldier. I just wanted to say I enjoyed your earier post. I also want to thank you for fighting on our behalf and all of your years as a great Aussie. When younger people call our senior and highly respected citizens “old man”  or “old woman’ they usually… Read more »

 

Our national political conversation is littered with words that have lost their meaning: ‘fighting for peace’, ‘protecting our borders’, ‘truth in sentencing’, the list goes on.

Cartoon by the Daily Telegraph's Warren Brown

When it comes to the economy – ‘productivity and flexibility’ are two more benign, if somewhat bland, words that have been abused so horribly it is now tough to remember what they originally meant.

Often I read the commentary pieces in newspapers about these issues that make grand claims about the virtues of productivity and flexibility, a panacea to every business problem, a self-evident good.

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  • acotrel says:

    06:52am | 05/11/10

    If the mining workers had a piece of the action, their own share price was at risk, would that make a difference? We never hear about ESOP these days? Read more »

  • acotrel says:

    06:38am | 05/11/10

    Fiddy, Henry Ford paid his workers 5 times the going rate.  They could then afford to buy his products! Read more »

 

They come from far, they come from wide. They come with a fire in their bellies and a penchant for the written word that not even a million monkeys on a million typewriters could even dream of topping no matter how many sonnets they secured or peanuts they procured with their feverish and dexterous opposable thumbs. They are, of course, and without a shadow of a flickering doubt - bad writers.

The Australian's very good cartoonist Jon Kudelka.

The bad writer is a mystery for the ages. A mystery, wrapped in a riddle, snug as a bug in a tightly woven and off-white or eggshell coloured woollen rug.

The fact remains that since man has walked the earth since time immemorial, our command of language above all is what has set man apart from beast; what has separated the men from the boys (by men I of course mean men, and by boys I mean animals).

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  • louis vuitton outlet says:

    06:33pm | 09/07/12

    I found your blog site on google and verify a couple of of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the very good operate. I simply further up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Searching for ahead to reading extra from you afterward!? Read more »

  • Duncan Horscroft says:

    08:30pm | 13/10/10

    you might want to check the spelling of WILDEBEEST Read more »

 

It really is the best invention, ever.

A company in the US has dreamt up a bit of punctuation to indicate that you are being sarcastic.

As if you ever going to need it.

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  • papachango says:

    12:24pm | 19/01/10

    There are already plenty of acceptable ways of showing sarcasm in the written form. Try emoticons like and the ‘rolling eyes’ one or even a /sarc tag if you’re geekisly inclined. Even inverted commas can do the trick, so that we don’t need this ‘incredibly useful’ invention… Read more »

  • papachango says:

    12:20pm | 19/01/10

    True the Amercians sometimes struggle with sarcasm and irony - which explains the Wayne’s World craze of ending a sarcastic sentence with ...NOT! Just to be sure that it is actually sarcastic y’know… You do realise that, while Alanis Morissette shows a similar inability to grasp irony, she is in… Read more »

 

Following the success of my colleague Paul Colgan’s call for entries to the Punch Political Dictionary, today we’re launching a parallel appeal for entries to the Punch Business Dictionary – those words and phrases that tripped off the tongue during the corporate gyrations of the past year.

Ding ding! Jennifer Hawkins with Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes and chairman Bill Wavish

The good folk at Macquarie Dictionary have offered six suggestions. Here are ours. Over to you - and please give generously.

Float-model: A beautiful woman used to attract investors to your listing on the stock market. Pioneered, and possibly perfected, by Myer with Jennifer Hawkins during its $2.4bn float. Investors, some no doubt encouraged to open their wallets by the presence of the former Miss Universe, are still waiting for the shares to reach their issue price.

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  • Polite Please and lets all get on!?!? says:

    06:37pm | 11/01/10

    A kind and gentle farewell/ or a softer come back to the opposition, as you are thank-you?!? C -  see U -  you N -  on T   -  Tuesday Read more »

  • Shane From Melbourne says:

    11:04am | 11/01/10

    Industry Self Regulation: an oxymoron where you give the keys of the asylum to the inmates and tell them they can run it themselves….. Read more »

 

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