Brandishing brandish.

The word “brandish” is terrific example of journalese. It’s usually used in cops’ stories, to describe a guy “brandishing” a gun or a knife. You’d rarely hear it used in everyday speech. It’s in police reports, that reporters love to quote.

The Boston Globe in the past two weeks had a story of a gentleman brandishing a gun in a hold-up and another brandishing a knife when caught stealing food in a 7-11. The late, lamented Mid-Town Journal, a weekly journal of the uninhibited doings of Bostonians who stumbled into the arms of the law, would have reported that the would-be Willie Sutton pleaded innocent because he did not brandish a gun. He insisted he purchased it fair and square on the corner. “What’s this brandish stuff? It was a Colt,” he told the judge.

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