Miles Kington: Some vital intelligence for the word-using community

Politicians realised there was no point promising people what they wanted unless they got it. So they began to promise 'delivery'
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The Independent Online

Language is not static. Words change their meaning all the time. Here are just a few of them which have acquired new meanings recently.

Absolutely The word which has now virtually replaced "Yes".

Accessible A term used of a theatre where a person in a wheelchair can both get into the theatre and understand what is going in on stage.

Boutique Name now given to many hotels which have all the qualities of a boutique, ie they have limited facilities, are small and poky, staffed by people who speak exotic English, and very expensive.

British-born You would think this meant someone who was born British. Not at all. It is a coded reference to someone who is Muslim, and of Asian parentage, and who has grown up in Britain, but somewhere along the line has decided to become a terrorist.

Community Any minority is said to form a "community". For reasons unknown, this privilege is denied to any majority. So there is a gay community, Asian community, business community, etc, but no white community, straight community, car-driving community or consumer community, etc. There is a Christian community in Iraq, but not in America.

Conceptual Name given to a kind of art where all the talent and ingenuity has gone into the title and not into the making of the object. The grandfather of conceptual art is René Magritte, who had brilliant ideas for paintings, but couldn't actually paint very well.

Coruscating The basic meaning of this word is "dazzling" or "brilliant", but because it sounds a bit like "corrosive", people are more and more using it to mean "sarcastic" or "satirical" or even "blistering". It doesn't mean that at all, but at this rate it soon will.

Delivery Somewhere along the line politicians realised that it was no point promising people what they wanted unless they actually got it, or otherwise they would be rumbled. So they began to promise "delivery" of what they had promised. Things have not improved a lot, so "delivery" is now in danger of becoming another word for "promise".

Designer Name give to objects such as garments, shoes, tennis gear, which are mass produced but have a name printed on them which sounds vaguely familiar.

Designated This now means sober, as in "designated driver".

Fest For many years the British thought that only the French and Spanish had words for "festival" ("fete" and fiesta") but recently they have discovered that the Germans also have a word for it, so suddenly a gathering of lorries becomes a Truckfest, etc, etc.

Icon Anyone who does anything passably well.

Intelligence Fashionable word for "information".

Remote Six feet away, as in distance from remote control to TV.

Resonance Quality possessed by any new production of a Shakespeare play in which there seem to be references to Blair, Bush and the war in Iraq.

Team Name given to people who work in the same office and all hate each other unless there are customers present. "Our team is ready to help you find the house that's right for you" conveys the impression of eleven players passing brilliant ideas to each other, even if not actually scoring. A lot of modern business and political imagery is drawn from sport. People now have game plans, and ball-park figures, etc. Even terrorism is seen as a sort of game, as when John Reid said the other day that the "main players" had been picked up.

University Place where you are given three years to pickle your illiteracy in alcohol.

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