Somebody buy the BBC a thesaurus

BBC (30-May-2017): Manuel Noriega, Panama ex-strongman, dies at 83

General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military leader of Panama, has died aged 83, officials have announced.

…Although he was never elected to office, Noriega became the de facto leader of Panama, serving a six-year tenure as military governor in the 1980s.

…But the US tired of his increasingly repressive role internally in Panama, and there were indications he was selling his services to other intelligence bodies, not to mention drug-trafficking organisations.

I'm pretty sure the word so steadfastly failing to trip off the BBC's tongue is ‘dictator’.


I've often thought we needed a word to describe someone (usually famous) dying whom, until you heard the sad news, you wrongly believed died years ago. From now on, I'm going to call it ‘bilking’ (as in ‘Acker has bilked’).

Acker Bilk

Acker Bilk (1929–2014)

Postscript (04-Nov-2014): Damn! I just told Jen my cool new word, and she immediately pointed out that to bilk is already a verb, meaning to defraud or evade (as in ‘to bilk paying one's bill at a restaurant’). But I reckon carrying on living for years when other people think you're dead is a form of evasion, so I'm sticking with my neologism.

Going native

Yesterday, talking with Jen, and without a hint of irony, I referred to two young women we had seen the previous evening as lasses. I didn't even notice I had done it. It was Jen who pointed it out. She was highly amused.

Over ten years, I've lived in Yorkshire, and it's finally starting to rub off. I'll be rubbing cold lard on tut whippet next, mark my words.


Some Yorkshire folk yesterday

Some Yorkshire folk yesterday.

In which I Carter a phrase

We were watching Heston Blumenthal do weird shit with potatoes on telly last night. At one point, Heston and a bunch of mates he had never met before cried out, “Here's one I made earlier!” Heston explained that they were coining a phrase.

No, they weren't. When you coin a phrase, you invent a phrase that nobody has ever used before. For example:

  • degaussing the ocelot;
  • unfolding the Queen Victoria;
  • seeing the back of one's forehead;
  • hat, kettle, dumpling, bun-bun-bun!

(Don't bother Googling them, I've already checked.)

What Heston and his cronies were really doing was employing a cliché. And, if I wanted to be really pedantic, I would point out that “Here's one I made earlier!” isn't a phrase at all; it's a fully formed sentence!

Yes, I know, everyone—including myself—says to coin a phrase when they really mean to employ a cliché. The people who originally used the phrase in this way were probably being ironic. But nobody seems to think about it these days; to them, to coin a phrase actually means to employ a cliché! Which is the exact opposite of its original meaning. How ironic is that?

Anyway, I've had enough of this nonsense and confusion! I am inventing a brand new phrase which, from here on in, means to invent a brand new phrase. And you are not allowed to use that phrase ironically, because I have copyright on it, and only permit you to use it in a totally non-ironic sense. And that phrase is:

  • to Carter a phrase.

(Don't bother, I Googled that as well.)

Immortality at last!