It’s been pointed out to me that stealing all these lip-smacking and useful foreign words without a by your leave might not be morally justifiable. It offends the British sense of fair play – it’s just not cricket.
Putting aside the fact that we’ve been at it for hundreds of years I’d propose a solution. Instead of just pillaging what words we want, like verbal Vikings, perhaps we could have a kind of word exchange scheme – a linguistic swap shop.
The French, for example, would get a word currently in English usage and we would get espirit d’escalier. Which, as you might remember, means staircase wit – the witty riposte you only come up with when the moment has long gone.
I’ve been thinking which words I would happily swap for any of those listed in my earlier post on the foreign words I most covet.
And the number one candidate has to be ‘chillaxing’. Most recently seen displayed in 100 point headlines all across all the UK tabloids to describe David Cameron in a way which suggested he might be slightly lazy.
Chillaxing. It’s awful isn’t it? Inane and pointless. You see what they’ve done there? They have cleverly conflated two existing words – chilling and relaxing – to create a new word which means – exactly the same thing.
I mean what, in the name of all that is holy, is the point of that?
“What are you doing?”
So yeah – French get chillaxing – we get espirit d’escalier and you can’t say fairer than that can you? Any other candidates?