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Sandy's Say: Naming Rights

...We have ‘friendly fire’ which is anything but pally and ‘hostile takeover bids’ where there is not a weapon in sight. What happened to good old fashioned haggling, I’d like to know? Consumerism has taken the ‘Christ’ out of ‘Christmas’ and whilst I am eternally grateful for the dire warning of the ‘loo’ in ‘vindaloo’, there is definitely no ‘fun’ to be found in ‘fundamentalism’...

Sandy James draws attention to the misnaming of this, that and the other.

To read more of Sandy's scintillating columns please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/sandys_say/

Have you ever noticed how many things in life are misnamed? Nobody picks up on it and they go on into perpetuity unchallenged. Misnomers are indeed rife.

There’s the ‘parental lockout system’ on television which, much to the chagrin of teenagers the world over, does not lock the parents out at all. There are ‘state government initiatives’ which, quite frankly, are a blatant oxymoron.

We have ‘friendly fire’ which is anything but pally and ‘hostile takeover bids’ where there is not a weapon in sight. What happened to good old fashioned haggling, I’d like to know? Consumerism has taken the ‘Christ’ out of ‘Christmas’ and whilst I am eternally grateful for the dire warning of the ‘loo’ in ‘vindaloo’, there is definitely no ‘fun’ to be found in ‘fundamentalism’.

‘Power walking’ is in bad need of relabelling. I’ve studied those groups of women who stroll past here of a morning, nattering, chattering, giggling and hooting with laughter. It is not their legs but their jaws that they are exercising. How about we rename it ‘power talking’?

‘Warm up laps’ are another fallacy. Even when I was a gullible, eight year old, squad swimmer I knew this to be rip-off terminology. Forty laps of a 50m swimming pool is not a warm up. It is a full, lung burning workout, believe me. Are modern swimmers truly fooled by the term ‘warm down laps’? Are they aware that they did not exist twenty years ago? Anyway, does one not ‘cool down’? I know I do.

To make matters more complicated, we are saddled with embarrassing cross-cultural confusion. A ‘thong’ in Australia is a rubber sandal which you place on your foot whilst elsewhere in the world it is a scanty piece of swimwear or underwear worn (or hardly worn) on your seat. In most English speaking countries ‘route’ means the ‘way taken’ but in Australia if you pronounce such a word it results in titters because here it is a crude reference to intercourse. If you wish to know which way the bus travels then you must ask for the “rowt” number. A ‘muffler’ to Aussies is a car’s silencer while in other countries it is a type of scarf. Those of us who are less naïve squirm when we see the local exhaust specialist proudly advertise, “No muff too tough”. What a boast! Many a man would be proud to adopt that as his personal motto.

There exists an item of clothing which is perhaps the most internationally mangled misnomer of all. The Americans got it right and called it a ‘coverall’, for that is exactly what it does from head to toe. The British call it a ‘boilersuit’ and with all that thick fabric and elastic on the cuffs and ankles I can imagine that one would soon become hot and ‘boil’ inside. But to call it a ‘jumpsuit’? A ‘jumpsuit’ - with no discernable waist, all those unflattering folds of cloth, zippers right up to your throat and not a bit of naked ambition in sight - surely no-one would ever be tempted to jump you whilst you were wearing one of those?

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