McJob

It’s possible somebody missed the point of a dictionary:

McDonald’s Corp. on Tuesday restarted its push to get the word “McJob” removed from dictionaries — and has set its sights on the gold standard of lexicons, the Oxford English Dictionary.

From the point of view of the fast-food proletariat, the reason for the McLanguage offensive is clear: The word McJob, as the OED definition makes clear, is “depreciative.” It goes on to define the term as: “An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.” It found its way into the dictionary in March 2001, 15 years after it was apparently coined by the Washington Post.

“Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And it this case, they got it completely wrong,” Walt Riker, a Mickey D’s McSpokesman complained to the Associated Press. “It’s a complete disservice and incredibly demeaning to a terrific work force and a company that’s been a jobs and opportunity machine for 50 years.”

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Right Nice

There is a Franglais-like language in parts of Canada called Chiac, based on French grammar and syntax but with some English words thrown in. I was reading the example sentences given (such as Ej schwimmais dans l’ocĂ©an pis j’tais right soaking wet (I swam in the ocean and got soaking wet) and noticed the odd use of the word ‘right’, as an amplifier. My in-laws use the same construction, using ‘right nice’ to mean that something was better than ‘nice’. It appears that the Acadian people and the residents of the Independent Republic of Yorkshire have more than their internal loyalties in common.

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Ye Olde Roade Signes

We drove over 500 miles this weekend, passing dozens of signs warning of the dangers of using the phone and driving at the same time. They were all phrased something like “Think Don’t Phone Whilst Driving”. And I thought I was the only person who hadn’t succumbed to the functional but strangely unsatisfying ‘while’.

Interestingly (OK, it’s not interesting, but I like to give good value for no money here on BoPL) where my significantly better half is from they use ‘while’ to mean until, at least in certain contexts. For example, “He won’t be here while 9” means “He won’t be here until 9”. Similarly, “I work 9 while 5 on Tuesdays” is “I work 9 to [until] 5 on Tuesdays”.

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Worst word ever

Just listening to a podcast answering the question “Do any other creatures menstruate?” (yes, in case you wondered, other primates do, though many other animals have cycles that serve a similar purpose). The scientist answering the question first went through a quick explanation of what menstruation is (basically a shedding of the uterine lining to help clear the way for next time). She used possibly my least favourite word in place of shedding, however – sloughing.

To slough: (v, pr. sluff) to dispose or get rid of; cast (often fol. by off): to slough off a bad habit.

Not to be confused with ‘To Slough!’, the imperative call to visit the town in Berkshire that inspired the lines:

Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
It isn’t fit for humans now