Monthly Archives: May 2018

Honorable headlinese

Fete. That’s a wonderful headline verb, meaning, according to our American Heritage Dictionary, to honor or celebrate with a festival or to pay honor to. Our own dictionary definition: “Handy in headlines for a bash. When someone is feted, he or she is honored.” What brings this up is a headline in the Boston Herald, May 26, 2018: “Radcliffe fetes Hillary Clinton.” Being journalese, the word is never spoken. which… Read Article →

Gubernatorial season

Gubernatorial. Now there’s classic journalese. And during these primary election times, it’s all over the printed media. But have you ever heard anyone say the word, “gubernatorial”? I doubt it. It’s reserved journalese for a governor’s election campaign or contest. Our dictionary definition quotes a 2001 column by Richard Dudman in the Bangor Daily News, pointing out that the word, to him, always sounded like “peanuts in a swimming pool.”… Read Article →

Who ain’t restive?

Restive is one of our favorite journalese adjectives. You rarely hear anyone use it in everyday conversation. Restless, yes. Restive, only in print. The classic scenes in 1930s jungle movies would lose something if the explorers said: “The drums! The drums! They’re driving me mad!” “Yes, indeed, the natives are restive tonight.” What brings this on is the journalese-laden lede of an AP story, May 15, 2018: “MADRID — Lawmakers… Read Article →

Mideast stability?

Reporters and editors are always “raising questions,” which is journalese for “We are speculating….” Here’s one in a sub-headline that should go down as a classic. The Boston Globe page one, top story, May 9, 2018, with the head a quote: ‘A horrible one-sided deal.’ The subhead: “Trump pulls out of Iran nuclear agreement, rattling US allies and raising questions on Mideast stability.” Mideast stability? I wonder where the Globe… Read Article →

Chortle, chuckle and laughing out loud

“Chortle” is classic journalese: a word you never hear spoken in daily conversation, but only used in printed media. A dictionary definition is: “v. to chuckle throatily, and n. a snorting, joyful chuckle.” So we check the definition of chuckle, also classic journalese: “n. to laugh quietly or to oneself, and n. a quiet laugh of mild amusement or satisfaction.” What brings this up is an editorial in The Boston… Read Article →