Have you ever heard someone say, “We’re poised to go the beach”? Or a shop-owner say, “We are poised to have a spring sale.”? Probably never. “Poised” is classic journalese, most commonly seen in headlines, to mean that someone is getting ready to do something. The dictionary definition says the verb poise means “to weigh mentally, ponder” or “to balance” or “to keep steady.” Nothing about planning or intending to do something.
Here’s a headline example from the Boston Business Journal, June 20, 2017: “Big banks poised to unveil bigger payouts to shareholders.” You got a journalese two-fer there, poised and unveil.
At least the Business Journal didn’t use another classic journalese verb, mull, which is even shorter than poise, and which is journalese for the same thing — thinking about something. Here’s an example from the Boston Globe, also on June 20, 2017: “Ohio jury mulls fatal police shooting.”
File under: Editors poised to to mull.
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